Up to this point, if you wanted to get great fuel economy, you had to drive something small. But that was then, this is now. Several new vehicles are coming to market that won’t ask you to trade the American preference for larger vehicles for increased fuel savings.
The theme at the recent Detroit Auto Show seemed to be bigger vehicles that are fuel efficient. Leading the way was Toyota and a new crossover vehicle that will get 42 miles per gallon. (The typical mpgs is low to mid 20s on comparable models.)
Then you have Ford, which is introducing the C-MAX, with a small turbo-charged engine at the heart of a scaled-down minivan-like vehicle. The C-MAX is expected to sell millions and there will be various versions, one of which will be a hybrid and another of which will be a plug-in hybrid. The hybrid will get tremendous fuel economy, somewhere in the low 40s. The plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, is harder to measure, but is expected to get significantly higher than that.
We are in a mode where the average fuel economy of our vehicles must increase dramatically in next 5 years by law. We’ll get there with variety of technologies that still let you drive the kind and size of car you want. And that’s good stuff!