Hybrids Still Lead on MPG, According to 2008 EPA Numbers

The most fuel efficient 2008-model cars available to consumers are hybrids, according to new fuel economy numbers issued by the EPA. The Toyota Prius, with a combined highway/city mileage of 46, and the Civic Hybrid with combined mpg of 42, are the only vehicles to break the 40-mpg mark. The rest of the top five most efficient vehicles are also hybrids: the Nissan Altima Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and two-wheel-drive Ford Escape Hybrid, the only SUV at the top of the list.

The 2008 fuel economy figures for hybrids are about 20 percent lower than last year’s numbers, based on new testing procedures designed to better reflect real-world driving conditions, such as high-speed driving, use of air conditioning, and cold weather. Industry observers speculated that hybrids—commonly criticized for having exaggerated official mpg numbers used on window labels—would tumble when the new testing system took effect. Despite the adjustments, hybrid gas-electric vehicles remain as leaders in fuel efficiency.

The top ten highest ranked vehicles for mpg include three non-hybrids: the manual and automatic versions of the Toyota Yaris, a subcompact, and the manual Toyota Corolla.

According to the EPA, diesel-powered vehicles typically get 30–35% more miles per gallon than comparable vehicles powered by gasoline. Yet, the most efficient vehicle in the EPA ratings, the Mercedes E320 Bluetec, was rated at 23 in the city and 32 on the highway—well below the most efficient hybrids.

Automakers are working on number of advanced technologies—such as plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and more efficient gas-engine systems—to produce major boosts in fuel economy. But the timing is uncertain for the application of those technologies in production vehicles available to consumers. In the meantime, it’s all about hybrids for car shoppers searching among 2008 models for maximum mpg.

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  • ophir – israel

    even based on the new epa testing procedures if im not mistaken.Could be that the car isn`t exported to you guys at all? If thats the case, demand it!!! great car, great MPG (better than the prius altough smaller)

  • lostinspace

    The problem with VW is that its very hard to buy one of their diesel cars in the US. They discontinued most of them! For some reason, VW thinks that it can make headway selling cars in the US by making them look/feel/guzzle gas like US cars. Instead, I find that people expect something different and better if they consider a VW in the US.

  • CLD


    The problem is U.S. emission law. Right now there is only one 2007 diesel passenger car that can be sold in the U.S. (the Mercedes E320 BlueTec). VW did sell TDI versions of the Jetta and Passat here (although they were not 50-state legal because they didn’t meet the California emission standards), but the U.S. is in a transition period right now where the Federal (U.S. EPA) and California standards are being harmonized. VW has been able to get around the law somewhat (outside of the states using the California emission laws) by continuing the sell the 2006 version of TDI-powered cars.

    The Mercedes BlueTec system (if applied to smaller vehicles) and the new version of the Honda diesel (expected in the 2008 Accord) will hopefully change the game somewhat. In the meantime, hybrids continue to be the best choice for Americans.

  • Wes from Oklahoma

    I consistently get 42 miles per gallon in the city and 42-43 on the highway. Best car I have ever own. I bought this car to save me money and it has done that. I paid an extra 2 thousand to buy it and I have more then re-cooped my extra expense with tax credit, better MPG and more take home money from drive this car for work related expenses. If you drive for work and get paid per mile, you are a fool to not buy a hybrid…it will pay for itself REAL quick. With that, it has lower emissions.

  • sean

    When you compare 2 cars on MPG, they should be same size, otherwise, it’s meaningless.
    If Prius is made smaller, it can beat the bluemotion for sure.

  • Dom

    There are a lot of people that wish VW would bring their Bluemotion line of TDIs to the US. They are great cars, and easily match the hybrids at fuel efficiency. We should start seeing a new line of clean diesels next year. It’s exciting times…

  • Gary

    Diesel fuel has about 10% more energy content per gallon than gasoline, and (I believe) this results in about 10% more CO2 emission per gallon burned.
    Should this not be taken into account?

  • Paul Rivers

    Yeah, I keep hearing how diesel engines are “more efficient per gallon” and everyone gets all excited, but I think they’re totally missing the question of “Do they pollute more per mile driven?”.

  • Arlo

    Finally, the MPG ratings are adjusted so hybrids won’t be unfairly slammed for having inflated ratings!

    I have a lifetime MPG of about 41.5 on my 2004 Civic hybrid, so this seems just about right.

  • Hal Howell

    I bought my ’07 Prius in May and so far haven’t gotten 43MPG. My highest was 53.7 on the highway driving 60mph. Even at 70 mph I still got 47.3! I don’t understand why people slam the Prius. Everyone complains about foreign oil dependency and here is a car that actually delivers on its promise of fuel economy. Not only is it economical but I got it nicely optioned for $24,000. Without a doubt it is the best car I have ever owned. I would buy it again. The quality is outstanding and it has been highly rated for the last 3 years.Regardless of where you stand on man-made global warming (a scam) the Prius and Honda CIVIC Hybrids are fantastic cars and while the technology may seem new, it works and is affordable.
    I’m currently trying an experiment to see if I can drive all month on a single fill-up.

  • princess31

    I am looking into purchasing a prius, but am uncertain that that I am getting correct information. I drive 45 miles one way on the highway to work, do you still get great gas mileage if you do mostly highway driving?

  • Anonymous

    1. TOTAL cost to replace batteries (parts & labor) at dealer OUT of warranty ON2008- 2009 HYBIRDS;
    2. Ever COVERED on 2008- 2009 HYBRIDS?

    Please respond directly:

    Dr. David N. Penton aaacllinic@bellsouth.net
    (228) 238-1481
    1711 Graveline Road Gautier MS 39553- 7633- 11
    05- 31- 08 SAT 9: 09 A.M.

  • David

    Probably a bit late for my reply but, yes and no. As a general rule, the Prius works best in stop go city driving. The difference is not that great though. I drive roughly the same distance as you do, one way, with the majority being on the highway – about 70%. But this depends on how you drive too. I drive carefully, but not enough to hold up traffic or anything like that, and I get around 52mpg. In fact, on the first tank after I picked it up I got 52mpg….and I wasn’t really trying. I hope that helps….and it’s not too late. Good luck

  • Sarah Linden

    Why are the hybrids droping so much more than other vehicles.

  • Kelly

    As an average what is the percentage of decreased fuel usage from a hybrid-electric when compared to the average four cyclinder car with an ICE? Is it say ‘the average Hybrid uses 40% less fuel’ or the like?

    Above it states: According to the EPA, diesel-powered vehicles typically get 30–35% more miles per gallon than comparable vehicles powered by gasoline.

    Its odd that there is no similar statement to do with Hybrids given the nature of this website.

  • iosagiuergt

    blah blah blah blah blah bblah talk talk talk talk talk talk is all you say!!

  • drumbum

    If two cars are each carrying one person, the MPG matters and it is the size of the car that is meaningless. It all depends on your goal for the comparison.