Think all American cars are gas hogs?; The folks at Forbes don’t, and set out to find the “ten most fuel efficient American cars.”; An admirable task, certainly, but we’ve got some issues with the fine print.
Forbes set out looking at the combined EPA ratings for American cars, and here’s what they dug up:
- 2009 Ford Focus (2.0L, 4-speed automatic): 28 mpg combined
- 2009 Chevrolet Aveo (1.6L, 4-speed automatic): 28 mpg combined
- 2009 Pontiac Vibe (1.8L, 4-speed automatic): 28 mpg combined
- 2009 Saturn Astra (1.8L, 4-speed automatic): 27 mpg combined
- 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe (2.4L, 4-speed automatic): 27 mpg combined
- 2009 Pontiac G5 (2.4L, 4-speed automatic): 27 mpg combined
- 2009 Chevrolet Malibu (2.4L, 6-speed automatic): 26 mpg combined
- 2009 Pontiac G6 (2.4L, 6-speed automatic): 26 mpg combined
- 2009 Saturn Aura (2.4L, 6-speed automatic): 26 mpg combined
- 2009 Chevrolet HHR (2.4L, 4-speed automatic): 25 mpg combined
The results?; Well, there certainly are quite a few GM products in that list – in fact, ninety percent of that entire listing falls within the GM portfolio.; But like any statistical story, things get quite messy in the details.
Within the body of the story, Forbes says it looked for “American-made” cars and searched EPA ratings for the “most fuel-efficient vehicles built by GM, Ford, and Chrysler.”; In an age where European and Asian automakers operate factories within the U.S., those two statements aren’t mutually exclusive.
Take, for instance, the Pontiac Vibe – yes, it’s built in California, but it’s identical to the Toyota Matrix, also built in California.; If you’re truly looking at cars built in America, you’ve got to include vehicles like the Matrix, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord in your research.
Likewise, we question the inclusion Chevrolet Aveo, HHR, and Saturn Aura.; In the Aveo’s case, the car is sold in the U.S. as a Chevrolet.; But last we checked, Bupyong, South Korea – where the Aveo is fabricated by GM’s Daewoo subsidiary – wasn’t in the USA, let alone North or South America.; Both the Astra and the HHR, built in Belgium and Mexico, respectively, are in a similar situation.
We also need to point out one issue with the Pontiac G6 figures.; Although these fuel economy numbers stem from cars with automatic transmissions, the 2009 G6 offers not one, but two choices of automatic gearboxes coupled to the 2.4-liter I-4.; The 26 mpg combined figure listed in the results stems not from the standard four-speed automatic, but from the optional six-speed automatic – available only with the addition of a “Sport Package”.; A base four-cylinder G6, coupled with the four-speed automatic, returns 25 mpg combined.