Edmunds: Several models show big fuel economy gains

March 14, 2012 12:00 AM

Many automakers have been working on improving the fuel efficiency of their vehicles in recent years, especially because they have agreed to new fuel economy standards with the federal government. In an effort to meet those standards and satisfy a public that is increasingly concerned with MPGs, some models have undergone radical changes.

Edmunds.com recently looked at models from 2008 and models from 2012 in order to see just how much the models have improved in terms of fuel efficiency. Across the industry, MPGs are up 16.4 percent in this time period, but a few models in particular stood out.

The Audi A3, for example, improved by 38.5 percent between 2008 and 2012, jumping from 21 MPGs all the way up to 29. Other models that saw big gains include the Chevrolet Equinox, Kia Sorento, Dodge Challenger and Ford Explorer.

"The 2008 spike in gas prices served as a wakeup call for manufacturers whose fleets just weren't cutting it for consumers who were demanding vehicles with better fuel economy," said Edmunds.com analyst Ivan Drury. "Automakers responded by de-emphasizing fuel-chugging V6 and V8 engines and turning their focus to fuel-sipping four-cylinder and diesel engines."

According to the Department of Energy, auto maintenance is one way that drivers can improve their MPGs. Regular tune-ups and inflating new tires properly can each increase fuel efficiency by up to four percent.

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