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2012's Most Efficient Vehicles

By Jason Davis | November 22, 2011
The US Department of Energy today released its annual list of most efficient vehicles. It's another one of those trophies that manufacturers tout as being important and "official," like the Grammy's, but which too few people actually care about. The rankings are grouped into popular vehicle classes and based on an estimated driving style of 55-percent city driving and 45-percent highway driving. The stingiest winner is, according to the guv'ment , surprise! the Mitsubishi i-Miev electric vehicle. So, in honor of this efficient, gnat-like mover from Japan, let's take a look at some of the other miser'liest winners, chosen at random. 10. At 24 mpg combined, the Mazda5 is the most efficient minivan in America. Hold your applause until the completion of the list, please. 9. With a 50 mpg combined rating, the Toyota Prius—the car that enthusiasts love to hate—is the most efficient midsize car in the nation. Ahem, second-most efficient midsize car, behind the 99 mpg combined rating of the Nissan Leaf. 8. If you watch TV, you'll notice that Chevrolet is really hawking the Volt right now. It received a 60 mpg combined rating, and is the most efficient compact car in the nation. Will the air time help sell more Volt's? That remains to be seen. 7. I like small wagons, and it's no surprise to see the Audi A3 diesel (and its relative, the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagon diesel) clean up in the small station wagon category with 34 mpg combined. Are we over the "Americans don't like diesels," myth, yet? 6. We're not sure how the Ford F-150 EcoBoost didn't win this, but apparently the GMC/Chevy Sierra/Silverado, at 21-mpg combined, is the most efficient standard size pickup truck in the nation. 5. The Scion iQ looks like a Micro Machine. And at 37 mpg combined, it's also the most efficient Minicompact car in the nation. Coincidence? I think not. 4. The Honda CR-Z is for Prius-considerers who care about styling and who don't need a backseat. The CR-Z is also the most efficient two-seater in the nation even though its 122-hp engine and 37-mpg combined rating is less than fuel-sipping models of last millennium's CRX. 3. At a heroic 17 mpg combined, the GMC/Chevy Savana/Express vans are the most efficient cargo vans in the country. Hipster-Emo Indie bands, take note: These won't break down like your beat-down Volvo wagons. 2. Passenger van and efficiency are rarely used in the same sentence, unless you're the guzzler behind the wheel for your local center of worship. But at 14 mpg, the GMC/Chevy Savana/Express and Ford E-150 Wagon FFV do the God-camp hauling more efficiently than the rest. 1. Coolio! The Mitsubishi i-Miev is the big winner with 112 mpg combined, and almost double the mileage of the Chevy Volt. W00t! For the whole list, check out the official government webpage here. Source:
  • 2011 Chevrolet Express Van Side1
  • 2012 Scion Iq Sf
  • 2012 Toyota Prius Front Three Quarter
  • 2012 Mitsubishi Imiev High Speed Test Track
Jason Davis
Jason Davis

Thanks, Brian, but there are more than ten vehicles and class winners. It's just a suggestion--if you're into that kind of thing.

bryan mechanic
bryan mechanic

Hi Jason, I don't think that I have to check the official page because you describe it very well. And congratulation to Mitsubishi i-Miev. Thanks,