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Fuel Economy Guide 2006

Fuel Economy Guide 2007

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October 18, 2006

Toyota, Honda leaders in fuel economy

Automakers combine for total of seven vehicles in government's annual top-10 efficiency ratings.

Ken Thomas / Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The hybrid-electric Toyota Prius leads the government's annual top-10 fuel economy list of vehicles that can make living with high gas prices a little more tolerable.

The 2007 Prius, with 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, ranked first while the Honda Civic Hybrid was second with 49 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy said Tuesday.

Honda and Toyota made seven of the 12 vehicles listed in the top 10. Twelve vehicles were listed because two of them, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid four-wheel drive and the Kia Rio, are the corporate twins of vehicles made by Ford and Hyundai, respectively. The new Toyota Camry Hybrid made its debut at No. 3, with 40 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.

Ford Motor Co. had the most fuel-efficient sport utility vehicle, the Escape Hybrid front-wheel drive, which was fourth with 36 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The four-wheel drive version of the Escape Hybrid, along with its corporate twin, the Mariner Hybrid, were tied for 10th place with 32 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Six gas-only vehicles made the top 10: manual and automatic versions of the Toyota Yaris, the manual version of the Honda Fit, the manual Toyota Corolla and manual versions of the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio.

The government compiles the list based on information from manufacturers. Fuel economy estimates are determined by averaging numbers from a specific set of tests.

Hybrids comprise about 2 percent of the U.S. sales market but they have benefited from a federal tax incentive meant to help consumers recover part of the $3,000 to $4,000 premium for a hybrid.

Last summer's $3 gas prices made fuel economy a larger selling point in the industry. For example, Toyota has said it's looking to make hybrids available across virtually its entire lineup in the future. General Motors Corp. has stressed in advertising the number of its vehicles getting 30 mpg or better.

Environmentalists said the list offered more evidence of a wide gap between top-performing models and average vehicles.

An EPA report last summer said the average fuel economy for 2006 vehicles was 21 mpg, lower than the peak in 1987-88.

Automakers said more fuel-efficient vehicles are available than ever before, driven by demand.

"Every model is available with some sort of fuel efficient technology and as consumers continue to demand fuel-efficient vehicles, manufacturers will continue to offer more choices," said Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Among classes of vehicles, the Ford Ranger two-wheel drive was the most fuel-efficient pickup, with 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The Hyundai Sonata manual version was the top large car, with 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, while the Dodge Caravan two-wheel drive was the top minivan, with 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee four-wheel drive was the least fuel-efficient SUV with 12 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.

To read the original article at Detroit News, click here

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