It's hard not to notice the latest campaign in the automotive advertising world. From the "big 3" to those from overseas, it is evident that 40mpg is the new benchmark for gas mileage goals. These ad campaigns are here to stay, and I will explain a bit further why.
Traditionally the dominant vehicle that had a 40mpg+ best was the sub-compact class, also known as the "B-segment" category in auto geek-speak. There are a few factors that have pushed such fuel-sipping capabilities beyond the world of mini-cars.
A Honda Civic CVCC Ad From 1978
The bubble up affect of change comes from you, the consumer. After the extreme hike in fuel prices a few years back, manufacturers heard the buyer's demand for better fuel economy. The second factor is change coming down on manufacturers from the NHTSA by way of an increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. CAFE's origin began in 1975, a response to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.
According to the CAFE regulations to be changed in 2016, all manufacturer's fleets are to get a cumulative average of 34.1 or better. I won't bore you with formulas, basically they take the manufacturers entire fleet and figure out the overall average. This is why you may notice hifgher mpg vehicles coming from companies you least expected today.
Now you have a better understanding to the "cause and effect" in change that put 40mpg on the top of the promotion list amongst car companies. This new standard in efficiency has also changed the way vehicles are being powered. Technologies we have known and used in racing applications are now finding their way under your hood.
Changes include; the utilization of direct injection, turbo boost, and supercharging of smaller displaced engines. Even those in love with the all American V8 have to appreciate a modern day V6 putting out just as much if not more power than it's bigger brethren.
These changes bring on a trifecta of sorts; Smaller engine means less weight, less maintenance (fewer plugs, etc.), and better gas mileage. No matter how much a gearhead, such attributes cannot be discounted as minute.
If better mpg is a goal for you, here are some choices for 2012:
Audi A3 TDI- Luxury meets practicality, and gets 42mpg hwy starting at $30,250
Chevrolet Cruze Eco- This hot ride gets 42mpg hwy as well and starts at $16,800
Ford Fiesta- This euro-spec car gets 40mpg hwy, the base sticker starts at $16,290
Hyundai Elantra- This company's on fire! The Elantra starts at $14,830 w/ a 40+ hwy
Honda Civic- This compact class-leading top-seller gets 41mpg and starts at $15,805
VW has the TDI Golf, Jetta and Passat. They get 42mpg, or better starting at $22,775
There are several more to choose from and you also have an increased lineup for 2012 in the hybrid class. Gone are the days of limited high-fuel economy cars. In today's market you can have sportiness, style, and your 40mpg!