2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V front 3/4 view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear 3/4 view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V front 3/4 view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear 3/4 view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V side view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V front view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear view

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V headlight

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V grille

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V logo

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V fog light

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V wheel

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V wheel

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V wheel detail

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V badge

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V taillight

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V logo

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V badge

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V badge

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V engine

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V engine

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V engine

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V engine detail

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V engine detail

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V interior

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V interior

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V interior

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V front seats

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V front seats

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V steering wheel

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V steering wheel controls

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V steering wheel controls

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V gauges

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V gauges

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V fuel economy display

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V instrument panel

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V power button

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V parking button

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V gear selector

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V gear selector

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V navigation system

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V satellite radio display

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V radio display

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V navigation system menu

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V information display

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V climate controls

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V drive mode display

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear seats

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear cargo area

  • 2012 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 Toyota Prius V rear cargo area

To paraphrase the infamous Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street: "Green, for lack of a better word, is good."

That's what auto analyst Alan Baum is saying upon the release of a National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study that shows that model-year 2012 was the greenest, MPG-wise, on record. In the US, 2012 model-year vehicles achieved an average fuel economy of 23.6 miles per gallon, up 1.1 mpg, or about five percent, from the previous record of 22.5 mpg for the 2011 model year.

And the better news is that many of the higher-MPG models weren't compacts or subcompacts, indicating that the technology advancements automaker are using to make larger vehicles more fuel efficient is taking hold. Additionally, calendar-year 2012 will likely be the first in which Americans bought more than a half-million hybrids and electric-drive vehicles. Check out the full press release below.
Show full PR text
Auto Analyst Baum, NRDC Dub 2012 "The Year of the Green Car," Debunk Attacks on High-MPG Vehicles

Separating Fact From Fiction: Model Year and Calendar Year 2012 Are Best Ever For Greenest Vehicles

Washington, D.C. – October 31, 2012 – It's time to give unfairly maligned green cars the respect they earned in a major way in 2012, according to auto analyst Alan L. Baum and Natural Resources Defense Council senior vehicles analyst Luke Tonachel.

"The facts are in: consumers now have more opportunities and they are indeed buying green, fuel-efficient vehicles across the market spectrum, from small cars to midsize cars, minivans, CUVs/SUVs, and pickups," Alan L. Baum, principal of Baum & Associates, said. "They are buying cleaner vehicles that use less gas to go just as far, helping reduce America's dependence on oil while cleaning up our air. This is an important shift that moves us toward meeting the new federal standards to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025."

Based on a new analysis released by Baum & Associates, Baum and Tonachel deflated the recent attacks in news media stories on green cars by citing the following facts:

Model year 2012 fuel efficiency for new vehicles hit an all-time high. The sales-weighted average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles for model year 2012 was 23.6 MPG, up more than 1 MPG from the previous record high of 22.5 MPG set in 2011. This was the single biggest one-year increase in MPG in the past five years. Calendar year-to-date 2012 fuel efficiency is even higher: an average of 23.8 MPG through September. (Fuel economy data is derived from the research of Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle (University of Michigan) at http://www.umich.edu/%7Eumtriswt/EDI_sales-weighted-mpg.html.)

Higher average fuel efficiency for model year 2012 is a good thing for the American auto industry, rather than a reflection of falling sales. Auto sales for the 2012 model year reached 14.1 million units, an increase of more than 10 percent (1.7 million) from the previous model year. In the recent past, major increases in fleet fuel efficiency were generally marked by rapid decreases in vehicle sales. For example, the three-year period from 1980 to 1982 saw increases of 3.3, 1.3 and 0.6 MPG respectively, but vehicle sales declined by 2.5 million, 750,000, and 820,000, respectively. Similarly, over the two-year period from 2007 to 2009, fleet fuel efficiency jumped 1.8 MPG, but annual vehicle sales dropped by over 5.7 million. The uncoupling of rising average MPG and falling auto sales in model year 2012 was due in large part to much wider availability of vehicles with higher fuel economy.

The number of high-MPG vehicles available to consumers is rising rapidly. Popular vehicle nameplates with improved efficiency more than doubled from model year 2009 (28) to model year 2013 (61). Fewer than a third (17) of the model year 2013 vehicles with higher MPG are compacts or subcompacts, contrary to the assumption made by many that the only high MPG cars are "small cars."

Hybrids and plug-in electric car sales are on track to top half a million units for the first time in a calendar year (2012) and a model year (2013). This strong performance directly debunks the linked (and equally mistaken) notions that (1) consumers don't want higher MPG vehicles and (2) there is no demand for the high-end technology that powers the highest MPG-vehicles.
Alan L. Baum, principal, Baum & Associates, said: "The just-ended 2012 model year has resulted in a record high in fuel efficiency for new vehicles. These results indicate that, contrary to some news accounts, consumers are voting with their pocketbooks and going beyond their intent to buy high MPG vehicles to making actual purchases. Furthermore, they don't need to make compromises given the choices that are being offered. In reality, this was a banner year for the greenest cars and 2013 is shaping up to be even brighter. Plug-in electric vehicle sales are still a small niche but the number of new product offerings coming and the growing availability of these vehicles suggest that growth will continue."

Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council, said: "Those in news media stories who seek to obscure the fact that 2012 is 'The Year of the Green Car' are ignoring what the facts show about consumer demand for high MPG vehicles, the transformative impact of the 54.5 MPG federal fuel efficiency standards, and the major strides made by automakers to embrace and develop MPG-boosting technology advances. Those, according to press reports, who bash green cars fail to recognize that the U.S. auto marketplace has been remade in the last few years and that the old days of gas-guzzling, low MPG vehicles are, thankfully, a thing of the increasingly distant past."

The Baum analysis is available online at http://www.baum-assoc.com/.

A related blog post from Tonachel can be found at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ltonachel/.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy smokes, people need better vehicles. If you drive 12K miles a year at 23MPG and pay $4/gallon that is $2087 spend on gasoline per year. No wonder the economy is in the toilet.
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Oh Spec, how dare you point out coherent accounting! Americans don't care about TCO calculations and neither do the GOP tools they elect into public office. Nice math BTW. I post stuff like that to FB and get flamed for it :P lol as if I cared!~
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 2 Years Ago
      An average 2012 fleel fuel economy of 23.6 miles per gallon.... That is an embarrassingly low number! I bet a lot of people are having fun at the gas pump! lol
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shut the hell up this is good news can't you hippies be happy for once? Don't effing rain on my parade,,,.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Update and modernize the EV1 and it would be even higher. But it is a good trend and it should continue.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am almost positive sustained higher consumer gas prices in the ~$4/gal range helped to encourage many new car buyers to place fuel economy as a top consideration priority. Woot Woot One of the benefits of higher energy prices can be seen in an increase of intelligent consumer choices to select energy conserving technologies and solutions.
        Aaron Schwarz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Get me and my stuff from A to B and back.... if one can save me tens of thousands of dollars on gasoline because it makes use of a hybrid technology that adds $5K to the base price of the car... hmmm that seems to pencil out :)
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Aaron Schwarz
          @ spec Prius at 48MPG real world in the US for 200,000 miles with gas at $4/gal = $16,667 fuel costs US Average 23MPG real world for 200,000 miles with gas at $4/gal = $34,783 Fuel savings of $18,116 At $5/gal the fuel savings exceed $20K
          sirvixisvexed
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Aaron Schwarz
          And don't forget that a more efficient vehicle holds its value better, so no need to do fuel cost vs. hardware cost calculations, they are actually apples to oranges.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Aaron Schwarz
          "tens of thousands" = at least $20K. A 4X return on your money "hmm seems to pencil out"? A 4X return would make you a genius investor.
    Share This Photo X