It wasn’t so long ago that diesel engines conjured images of black smoke belching trucks with exhaust stacks sticking out the sides.
AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
You would have thought that higher fuel economy standards would help spur growth in alternative fuelled vehicles, particularly EVs. However, it appears that the tough new CAFE regs, are actually pushing automakers to improve what they already know, namely the internal combustion engine, rather than invest heavily in new, unfamiliar technology.
An interesting study has just been released by the University of Michigan which compared the average fuel efficiency of vehicles made in 2012 compared to those manufactured in 2008.
According to the report, there has been a 2.8-mpg improvement for cars (including station wagons) and a 1.6-mpg for light trucks (including pickups, minivans, vans, and SUVs) over the four year span.
Across all 12 vehicle-size classes that the University of Michigan studied, station wagons showed the biggest improvement, bringing in an impressive 4.1-mpg improvement. Compact cars came in second with a 3.8-mpg improvement while full-size vans only saw 0.2-mpg change and small pickup trucks were only improved by 0.4-mpg.
They even went so far as to compare vehicles with automatic transmissions, showing a 2.5-mpg improvement over the years, while manual transmission-equipped vehicles saw 2.8-mpg. Four-cylinder engines chimed in with a 2.3-mpg change while six-cylinders still saw a respectable 1.4-mpg. Front-wheel drive vehicles saw a 3.4-mpg improvement and four- or all-wheel drive vehicles went for 2-mpg.
The biggest improvement were for diesel models, with an impressive 9.8-mpg jump while conventional gas engines have improved just 2.6-mpg overall. Even though it probably sounds strange that hybrids dropped 3-mpg, it’s clear that four years ago the hybrid market wasn’t oversaturated with variants from big-bodied makes and models like a Porsche Cayenne. Even though the Cayenne S Hybrid is an improvement over the standard Cayenne fuel efficiency, it is nothing compared to the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius. The Prius probably helped skew the statistic four years ago, due to the lack of vehicles in the test group compared to today.
Current average fuel economy of cars is reported to be 23.4-mpg and 18.6-mpg for light trucks.