The ecoAuto program gives buyers of the most fuel-efficient models rebates ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, but also penalizes gas guzzlers up to $4,000. Cars like the Toyota Yaris sail right under the specified economy ratings of 6.5 liters/100km, but Honda just missed with its popular Fit that achieves 6.6 liters/100km. The Civic, meanwhile, consumes about 7.0 liters/100km. In fact, Honda was pretty upset that the standard was set just below the Fit's ratings, and decided to offer $1,000 of its own money to buyers of 2007 models. Critics of the program have even called it "the Yaris subsidy program" since Yaris sales were up significantly more than Fit sales when the program was announced, but Honda's own rebates brought Fit sales back.
While Honda works to get that extra fuel economy, it doesn't even know if the standards will be the same in 2008. There is some talk that the qualifying criteria could be lowered on 2008 models. The reason for the possible change is that Canada was using the new EPA standards introduced last year to better reflect real world driving conditions. Those EPA ratings are now under review as a proper standard for the Canadian program. Sigh, such drama. We'll keep you posted.
[Source: The Toronto Star]