Thursday, September 11, 2008

American vs. Japanese - Gas Mileage Comparison


Talking heads like Rush Limbaugh whom assert lies such as environmentalist and fuel economy standards harm the automobile industry could do more good by sticking the facts. If Japan can build it why then not America now! Bottom line Toyota has surpassed American Automobile makers in sales because of its practical approach to the reality of what drivers today need. American automobile makes on the other hand are loyal to gas inefficient SUV that are simply unaffordable. On a personal note being a musician I need more space to transport my instrument. Thinking the Toyota Matrix would be good on gas and is big enough. Comments welcome. Peace.

For years and years it was considered un-American to buy a car or truck that wasn’t manufactured by one of the major American manufacturers. Whether it was Ford, General Motors or Dodge, you’d better have had one of these vehicles parked in your driveway, or you weren’t doing your civic duty.


Right around the 1973 gas and energy crisis, and again during the 1979 energy crisis, it suddenly became okay to buy foreign cars - especially Japanese cars - because of their remarkably better fuel economy as well as their increased life span.


Ever since, it seems that American auto manufacturers have been playing catch up, and lately, it seems the distance in popularity between Japanese and American cars is as large as it has ever been. This is probably linked to the fact that as gas prices have dramatically increased, foreign car manufactures - especially Japanese cars - have introduced a myriad of gas saving measures, with the most popular being hybrid technologies.
All that being said, I wanted to see how vast the difference in gas mileage really is between the top five most fuel efficient American cars vs. the top five most fuel efficient Japanese cars:

Top 5 Most Fuel Efficient American Cars:
Ford Escape Hybrid - 36 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
Chevy Aveo - 26 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Ford Focus - 26 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Chevy Cobalt - 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Ford Fusion - 24 mpg city / 32 mpg highway

Top 5 Most Fuel Efficient Japanese Cars:
Honda Insight - 60 mpg city / 66 mpg highway
Toyota Prius - 60 mpg city / 51 mpg highway
Honda Civic Hybrid - 49 mpg city / 51 highway
Toyota Corolla - 32 mpg city / 41 mpg highway
Toyota Matrix - 30 mpg city / 36 mpg highway


After doing some math, I figured the average of the top five American cars gets 27.4 mpg in the city and 33.2 mpg on the highway, while the average of the top five Japanese cars get 46.2 mpg in the city and 49 mpg on the highway. This equates to 68% better gas mileage in the city and 48% better gas mileage on the highway for Japanese cars.


The most obvious cause for the difference is due to the fact there are three hybrid cars included on the Japanese list while there is only one hybrid car on the American list.


While gas mileage certainly isn’t the only indicator as to why certain cars sell better than others, I don’t think you can discount the fact Japanese cars tend to get much better gas mileage than their American counterparts when looking at the dramatic rise in sales of Japanese cars vs. an equally dramatic fall in the sales of American cars.

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Anonymous said...

Japanese fuel economy figures are based on the 10-15 Cycle, which is very optimistic compared to the way Americans drive.

As an example, a 1.5 Toyota Yaris with a NZ-FE engine is rated in Japan at 41.3 mi/gal (17.6 km/l). My real life experience with the same car in the US is 34 in city, 36 combined and 39 highway