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« British Firm Demos Scalable Process For Creating Hydrocarbon Fuels Solely From Air and Water | Main | New Ford Hybrids Showing Record MPGe Rates »
Tuesday
Feb052013

DOE Brings Online 2013 Fuel Economy Guide Providing Millage Data Across Vehicle Models

The 2013 Fuel Economy Guide has come online as a collaborative consumer information effort developed between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Graphic courtesy of blog.theautopartsshop.com.

The guide is a user-friendly website designed for both shoppers and owners to find information about a multitude of vehicles across models and technologies, including best and worst gas millage, maintenance tips, and tax credits on hybrids, electrics, alternative fuel vehicles, and diesel vehicles.

The platform has multiple menus on fuel efficiency, including the successive list of the 2013 Most Fuel Efficient Cars by EPA Size Class (including electric vehicles) & the 2013 Least Fuel Efficient Cars.

On the top of the Most Fuel Efficient list is the 2013 smart fortwo electric drive convertible, Automatic (A1), with a 122 MPGe city, a 93 MPGe highway, and a 107 MPGe combined, with a $0.96 cost to drive 25 miles.

The electric vehicles are measured in MPGe with 33.7 kW-hrs = 1 gallon of gasoline.

For the Least Fuel Efficient, the 2013 Bugatti Veyron, 8.0 L, 16 cyl, Automatic (AM-S7), received top honors. The Veyron performed at a 8 mpg city, a 15 mpg highway, and a 10 mpg combined, with a $9.18 cost to drive 25 miles.

Another noteworthy list on the site is the Top Ten EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers (2013), which includes electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The vehicles are ranked by their combined rating (weighted by 55 percent and 45 percent highway).

Receiving the top rating on the Top Ten Fuel Sipper list is the 2013 Scion iQ EV (Automatic) with a 138 MPGe city, a 105 MPGe, and a 121 MPGe combined.

Besides the best and worst in fuel economy another great aspect of the web platform is the Top Ten Misconceptions About Fuel Economy, with the top misconception being that, “You have to drive a small car to get good fuel economy.”

The DOE finds that, “Advanced technologies like hybrid drivetrains, diesel engines, direct fuel injection, turbocharging, advanced transmissions, low rolling resistance, tires, and aerodynamic designs are allowing standard-sized vehicles to be very fuel efficient.

“For the 2013 model year, about half of the top ten most efficient vehicles are midsized or large cars and wagons.”

Second on the list of misconceptions is that, “Manual transmissions always get better fuel economy than automatics.”

The DOE finds that, “Advances in automatic transmissions have improved their efficiency to the point that the automatic version of a vehicle often gets the same or better fuel economy than the version with the manual transmission.”

Also third and interesting on the list is the misconception that, “It takes more fuel to start a vehicle than it does to let it idle.”

The DOE finds that, “Modern fuel injected engines start very efficiently, especially when warmed up. Idling can use up to a half gallon of fuel per hour – depending on your vehicle’s engine size – costing you up to one to two cents per minute.”

The DOE also suggests that you “turn off your engine when your vehicle is sitting still, except when you are waiting in traffic or waiting in a line where you would need to turn it on and off frequently. Restarting your engine too frequently can wear out your starter.”

Lower on the list of misconceptions, but still important is that, “Using premium fuel improves fuel economy.”

The DOE adds that, “Unless your vehicle was specifically designed for premium fuel or knocks severely with regular fuel, you will probably experience no benefit from using premium fuel over regular.” Also you should consult your owner’s manual to see whether premium is recommended and under what conditions.

Also another great tip from the site’s Keep Your Car In Shape section is to keep tires properly inflated. It advises that, “You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure,” adding that, “Under inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.” Properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.

The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb, the glove box or in your owner’s manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire’s sidewall.

Another great feature of the site is its information on federal tax credits for vehicles. The DOE explains that, “A tax credit reduces the total amount of income tax you owe. So, if you owed $10,000 in federal income tax, a $2,000 credit would reduce the amount you owed to $8,000. With a credit, your actual savings would be $2,000.

The Fuel Economy Guide explains the following vehicle federal tax credits:

Hybrids purchased or placed into service between Dec. 31, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400. Also note that credit amounts begin to phase out for a manufacturer once they have sold over 60,000 eligible vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary based on the capacity of the battery used to fuel the vehicle.

Electric vehicles purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary based on the capacity of the battery used to fuel the vehicle. The credit replaces an earlier credit for electric vehicles purchased in 2009.

Some diesels purchased or placed into service between Dec. 31, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $3,400. (No eligible vehicles were manufactured for sale until 2008.)

Credit amounts begin to phase out for a manufacturer once they have sold over 60,000 eligible hybrid and diesel vehicles.

Qualifying alternative fuel (i.e. ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, propane, hydrogen) vehicles purchased or placed into service between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $4,000.

 

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