In 2025, the corporate average fuel economy of new cars and trucks will need to be at 54.5 miles per gallon. That deadline certainly has carmakers scrambling, but it doesn’t mean every new car and truck produced will suddenly have incredible averages of 54.5 mpg – not by a long shot.
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As a result, the available cars will have miles-per-gallon averages that are all over the board, with a handful of all-electric vehicles often smoothing out the embarrassingly low fuel economy of other vehicles. The new CAFE standards, while considered to be tough by some and very flexible by others, will increase the variety of cars being made. Over the years, you’ll see that gap between a maker’s most efficient cars and least efficient cars widen a great deal, beyond even what we’ve depicted here.
We’ve calculated a much simpler average: We took the car company’s best and worst cars for mpg and averaged the two together, giving you a very different view than the CAFE.
While looking at the most fuel efficient cars of each brand as well as those with the worst mpg, cars racing ahead on our graph symbolize the companies that are truly moving ahead in the game. When your least efficient car is quite a bit more efficient than the most efficient vehicles of other brands, you know you’re speeding toward a future less reliant on crude oil.
Granted, for some that gap is ridiculously huge. Take, for instance, Chevrolet, whose worst vehicle clocks in with an abysmal 12 mpg. They also produce the Spark EV, which was released in 2013 as one of the most affordable and viable all-electric vehicles available to the American public at the time. Compare that to Honda, whose highest mpg cars are only around 36 mpg due to the fact that the company didn’t produce an all-electric vehicle in 2016, but whose worst car is still a very high 21 mpg. Within that small range of 21 and 36 mpg, Honda reportedly sold more than 350,000 Honda vehicles in America in one year. In that sense, they’ve likely made bigger strides away from oil than Chevy.
Remember that this average doesn’t consider the number of cars bought or the company’s best-selling cars.
For instance, some of the top-selling hybrid cars in the U.S. come from Toyota and Ford, even though they don’t often produce cars with the best mpg. Cars lower on the totem pole, like the Expedition and Sequoia, demolish their numbers, too. These are titans of the car industry, but they sometimes fall behind on producing the most efficient cars and struggle to uncouple themselves from the reliable sales of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. However, they’ve clearly been the major influencing companies pushing the American public toward more reliable hybrid vehicles. And it’s clear that change is on the horizon for them, if not as a result of lifting CAFE standards then as a result of consumer trends.
Consider other factors like car CO2 emissions data, company goals and investments, and CAFE standards when trying to figure out which green car company is the greenest. But it’s clear that a rare few are truly looking toward the future.