Cars getting worse mileage

A New York Times story notes that with gas prices going higher, the sales of smaller cars have shot up and the sales of SUVs has dropped. This is one more reason the 18c pander by McCain and Clinton is a bad idea -- it diminishes, however slightly, this shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

But the graphic with the story made me do a double-take. A Honda Fit only gives 34 miles per gallon on the highway? My first car was a 1983 Honda Civic hatchback (bought in 1993 for $600). I used to get 35 miles per gallon from it in the city and nearly 50 miles per gallon on the highway. My current car is a 2003 Toyota Corolla. I get 28 miles per gallon in the city and about 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Worse than my 10-year old Civic ... why? Because the newer Corolla is bigger and heavier than my old car.

If the 2008 Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit only provide the mileage of my 2003 Corolla, the newer Corollas must have gotten even bigger and larger.

The public may be buying the smallest car they can ... but the small cars that manufacturers are producing are bigger than they were. Why can't they make small cars like they used to? Won't anyone buy them?


  1. if you ask me, we can take the madras auto and put an old civic engine in it and it would sell like hot cakes

    it would probably give you 200 miles a gallon and would be a wonderful commuter vehicle.


  2. Why are you comparing your actual gas mileage with the estimated EPA ratings? Talk about apples and oranges - and innumerancy. :)

    BTW, part of your answer is that the EPA recently changed the way their ratings are generated, causing a roughly 10-15% drop from previous numbers (20% for the Toyota Prius):

    EPA shows new lower mileage ratings

  3. I missed the EPA rating change ... my mileage and the old EPA numbers always seemed to match, maybe because the cars I owned were never capable of accelerating all that quickly :)