Sunday, January 25, 2009

WHAT HAPPENED TO HIGH MPG RATINGS?



Okay, here's a question for ya'll that may betray some ignorance on my part.

I've been more or less bedbound for a few days and have watched way more "regular" TV than usual. Like, I'm now up to date on Lost, g*d help me. As a result, I noticed a Honda commercial I've never seen before, where a bunch of giant insect gas guzzlers (like a cross between Starship Troopers and a Chevy Tahoe) are thwarted from attacking a Honda Fit by a big bug zapper which is equated to gas mileage of 33 mpg. It's very futuristic and the announcer's voice is robotic.

I sat up and said "Whoa" when I saw this commercial. The outright confrontation in it is something I've not seen so directly portrayed since the last gas crisis of the '70s. I thought it must be brand new, but when I went looking for it online, I discovered it was on the air at least as early as September 2008. Have you all noticed this commercial -- is it on the air where you live? Did it strike you as radically different in tone?

And to the bigger question: That mileage of 33 mpg hardly seems revolutionary to me. In 1976 I bought a Honda CVCC which got a reliable 40 mpg highway, 35 in the city, for the next almost 200,000 miles. It's why I kept buying Hondas, despite accusations of being unpatriotic from my American-car-obsessed mechanic brother. But even then, there were cars getting over 50 mpg. What happened to them? Why aren't those kinds of fuel-saving engines available (or being marketed, as the case may be) any more? Seems to me like they'd be an affordable intermediary between the current crop of hybrids and all the projected imaginary cars of the future.

Geeks, come forth to enlighten. And other pertinent commentary as well, of course.


[Cross-posted at Group News Blog.]

3 comments:

kat said...

50 mpg sounds awfully high to me, but I'll check with my dad. He's a mechanic, and never has good things to say about new cars.

Hondas do tend to get much higher mileage than almost any other car.

mickjen said...

I think the point is that for an SUV type car, 33 is good. Most are 20 and under! Although, the Fit is not really a full-size SUV!

Anonymous said...

This may be a "half glass full" view of things, but 33 MPG is very good compared to 20 MPG. In fact, replacing a 20 MPG car with a 33 MPG car reduces gas consumption by twice as much as replacing a 33 MPG car with a 50 MPG car.

There is an illusion created by MPG, which is described here:
www.mpgillusion.com

The US should be using "gallons per mile" to measure fuel economy, such as gallons per 100 miles, which is the equivalent to what is done in Europe and Canada.

This calculator helps car buyers see gas consumption for all new cars. The big reductions in gas use come by replacing cars in the teens with cars in the 20s and 30s:

www.gpmcalculator.com