Government Releases 2012 Fuel Economy Guide With a New Efficiency Leader Atop the Pack

The EPA and Department of Energy have released the latest installment of their annual Fuel Economy Guide, which ranks every EPA-rated vehicle available in the U.S. market. Last year, the Toyota Prius ended its long run atop the list of vehicles with the highest overall fuel economies when its 50-mpg combined rating was bested by both the Chevy Volt (at 60 MPGe combined,) and the Nissan LEAF’s 99-MPGe rating.

Now, the LEAF too will end its year-long run as the most efficient vehicle in the United States, thanks to the release of the all-electric Mitsubishi i, which officially goes on sale in January rated at 112 MPGe (99 on the highway, 126 in the city.)

Fully electric vehicles don’t exactly use “gallons” of electricity, so the EPA’s miles-per-gallon equivalent rating system―which not many fully understand―isn’t all that useful in and of itself for car shoppers. Still, beating the Nissan LEAF in both price and energy efficiency is an accomplishment for Mitsu, which has been running ads of late trumpeting just how “Normal” the car is, despite exotic new lingo like MPGe.

Of course, as a subcompact, the i is significantly smaller than the mid-sized LEAF, and also carries a range that is somewhat shorter. While the EPA rates the LEAF’s electric range at 73 miles, the i has received an official rating of just 62 miles.

Other new hybrid and electric vehicles listed in the guide include the Ford Transit Connect, at 62 MPGe, and the Prius v, which comes in at 42 mpg. Toyota’s Prius Plug-in and Fisker’s Karma electric sports sedan have yet to receive their official ratings.

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    I thought the Teslsa had the highest MPGe because the battery was so big and the car was so light. The Volt leads the non-pure EV list it looks like. The plug-in prius will be ranked lower than the Volt unless they perform the test driving more than 70 miles between charges….


  • Capt. Concernicus

    When the car I’m building comes out next year it will beat the pants off any of these cars because it runs on “hopes and dreams”. lol!

    Seriously though, why are we rating EV only cars in MPGe? They should have a different kind of rating. Like who goes the furthest on a charge? Or who’s charges the quickest? To rate it in MPGe just seems ridiculous.

  • AP

    The MPGe rating makes sense to me, since it attempts to compare the number of mega-joules or BTU’s used per mile (or miles/BTU). So you can compare the effectiveness of energy conversion from fuel at the power plant to propulsion at the wheels for electric vehicles, to the efficiency of converting the energy in gasoline to propulsion for conventional vehicles.

    I say “attempts” because the government deliberately omits the inefficiency at the electric power plant, “pretending” the electrical energy in the battery is the same as the fuel burned at the plant. Actually, only about 1/3 of the power plant fuel energy makes it to driving the wheels of the car.

    Taking this into account, electric cars are about as efficient as gasoline powered cars. You can look up the numbers yourself.

  • Metatrader Programming

    They should have a different kind of rating. Like who goes the furthest on a charge?