With the Ford Fiesta officially rated at 40 miles per gallon highway and many people anticipating that the Chevy Cruze Eco will receive an identical number, it's believed that the new target mpg number for many gasoline-powered vehicles will stand at that 4-0 number. Not long ago, automakers believed 30 mpg (highway) was a decent target, but those days are long gone. With 40 mpg as the new 30, what goal can we expect from the future vehicles coming down the pipeline?
As it stands, the Toyota Prius breaks into the 50 mpg combined rating, but just barely. Most other hybrids trail the Prius by a significant amount. But 50 mpg just won't cut it if gasoline engines continue to increase in efficiency. There are hybrids out there right now that are smoked by the Fiesta's rating, which should signal the demise of the low-mpg hybrid. Ford's own advertising for the Fiesta points this out: "The Fiesta gets 40 highway miles per gallon. That's more than 21 hybrids."
With overall efficiency on the rise, automakers will need to focus on hybrids that touch 60 mpg. For the Prius, the goal is not that far off and many diesel-hybrid powertrains already easily eclipse that number. For most gasoline-powered hybrids, there's a long road ahead. With the traditional gasoline engine catching up, it's a road that will have to be traveled. For those that don't, a dead-end sign could loom ahead.
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