Advertised fuel economy numbers are misleading for city driving


All those ads for new cars on TV tout amazing highway miles per gallon. But what are those same vehicles getting for city miles?

Consumer Reports recently tested the Chevy Cruise, Ford Focus and Honda Civic. All three use technology designed to boost your fuel economy in highway driving. That’s how they’re able to boast about 35 mpgs on the highway or more.

But what they don’t say are that the city driving numbers are not so hot. And the extra cost you pay for the technology that provides the increased highway economy may not be worth it.

Let me give you an alternate example. The Los Angeles  crunched numbers on hybrids versus the closest gas engine version. They found three examples of popular vehicles where the hybrid will save you big bucks over time.

It used to be that buying a hybrid was patriotic move, but not necessarily a financially smart one. But that’s not so anymore. Hybrid technology has been on the market for 12 years now. The manufacturing costs are down and the fuel efficiency boost, particularly in city driving, has jumped very high. So now the economics change.

For example, owning the Toyota Camry hybrid will save you more than $1,000 over a five-year cycle versus owning the gas engine version. The Lincoln MKZ hybrid offers payback almost from the get go. The Toyota Prius V, meanwhile, saves more than $3,000 versus the VW Jetta SportWagen. And you’re not having to buy all that oil from OPEC!

  • Show Comments Hide Comments