Autoblog regulars will remember the ongoing feud between Honda Canada and the Canadian government. The conflict centers around Ottawa's new budget that contains the ecoAuto program, which offers between $1,000 and $2,500 rebates on certain fuel efficient vehicles and up to a $4,000 penalty on gas guzzlers. The Honda Fit, which is very popular in Canada, missed the cutoff for being eligible for a rebate because it consumes 6.6L of fuel every 100 kilometers, just one tenth of a liter more than the federal criteria for the rebate. The Civic misses the mark, however, by one-third to a half liter every 100 kilometers.
Honda threw a fit at what it saw as a federal endorsement of fuel economy over safety, as well as the unfair advantage it gave to competitors like the Toyota Yaris, which did qualify for the rebate but performed less well in crash tests. Honda even went so far as to offer its own $1,000 rebate on the Fit in protest.

In the meantime, Honda engineers have been going over the Fit to eek out a few more miles per gallon, and they've done it on the Fit equipped with a manual transmission. While confirming that they did not reduce the vehicles weight by deleting safety options to achieve the fuel savings, Honda was mum on exactly how it was achieved except to say "internal tinkering" was involved.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look they'll be able to perform the same miracle with the Fit that's equipped with an automatic, though in Canada the manual Fit sells more anyway. The Civic, which is less fuel-efficient than either Fit, has pretty much no hope of ever meeting the governments criteria for the rebate.

Thanks for the tip, Steve!

[Source: The Star]

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