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Why would automakers like Honda and Toyota, known for their fuel efficient vehicles, not have already made the switch to smaller-displacement turbocharged engines? The answer, surprisingly, is fuel economy.
According to University of Michigan researchers, the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold last year rose to 23.8 mpg, an increase of 1.4 mpg compared to the 2011 average of 22.5 mpg.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about one-quarter of all new vehicles sold today meet the 2016 federal emissions standard, which include a 35.5-mpg average for passenger vehicle fleets.
Left in the wake of Hyundai’s debunked fuel economy claims, brands that vowed to catch up are unexpectedly well-positioned.
As gas mileage lurches to the forefront of many driver’s minds, car buyers are considering which product will be the least thirsty. It’s an issue that easily put Hyundai atop many lists until recently when the EPA found Hyundai to have exaggerated its mileage claims. Of course, that revelation is expected to hurt Hyundai’s sales, but a recent report fro Bloomberg suggests it will also be particularly good for Honda, which was formerly the U.S. fuel economy leader.
Hyundai’s efficiency claims were a face-full of cold water for several automakers not the least of which was Honda. It, along with many others including Ford, Nissan and Toyota, worked vigorously to improve fuel consumption figures. Much like a student pouring over a term paper without knowing the deadline has been pushed back, those brands find themselves ahead of Hyundai.
“We’ve been conservative in our EPA estimates,” said Mike Accavitti, Honda’s head of U.S. marketing, to Bloomberg. “We triple check everything so customers are satisfied with the mileage they get in the real world.”
In 2012, Honda’s generally-popular civic took a beating with negative reviews. Quick to turn around, the brand will already offer a refreshed version for 2013 which could be timed perfectly to steal business away from Hyundai and Kia as customers shaken trust in the brand shoos value-minded buyers in other directions.
Despite being an industry leader in hybrid drivetrain technology, Toyota is taking advantage of more angles to improve its car’s fuel efficiency.
Likely behind countless sleepless nights among the world’s automotive engineers, the Obama administration’s mandate for improved fuel efficiency was expected to take effect yesterday, but the gun remains unfired.