Carmakers have equivalent fuel economy for similar weight classes

Toyota and Honda topped the corporate fleet average fuel economy for the 2007 model year and Honda has been at or near the top of the industry for much of the past three decades, along with Hyundai. Volkswagen has been right up there, especially in years when they have offered lots of diesels. However, looking at the graph above it becomes clear that the band covering all the major car-makers has been converging over time. While those companies that have led still have high mileage vehicles, their average has been trending downward as they expand their vehicle lineups.

Honda has added vehicles like the Pilot, Odyssey and Ridgeline. Hyundai has introduced several crossovers, including the Veracruz in 2007, and it seems like Toyota adds a new SUV or CUV almost every month. The foreign brands have indeed led the domestics in fleet average. However if the comparisons are done on a like-vehicle basis, the domestics look much better. GM and Toyota vehicles in the 2,750-3,000 pound class had been pretty much equivalent over time until the introduction of the Prius and, when comparing non-hybrids, the comparison is still pretty even. In all weight classes, the like vehicles get pretty similar results. So if the domestics could just sell more smaller cars, the overall fleet band would tighten up even more.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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