With a print cover reflecting increasing anxiety over rising gasoline prices (right) the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2006 mode year vehicles.
Despite the cover art, the EPA data indicates that total unweighted average combined fuel economy for all 2006 models has actually declined by 1% from the average combined fuel economy of the 2005 models, from 21.22 mpg to 20.99 mpg.
|Fuel Economy by Select Classes|
|Small station wagons||25.27||25.20||-0.07|
|Midsize station wagons||22.38||22.50||0.12|
Average combined fuel economy worsened in a number of classes, with the largest drop being in compacts, which went from an average 25.84 mpg in 2005 to an average 24.63 mpg in 2006.
The next largest decrease came in the large car segment, with a drop from 19.98 mpg to 19.70 mpg. SUVs marginally increased their fuel economy as a class, increasing from an average 18.72 mpg in 2005 to 19.27 mpg in 2006.
Toyota’s Corolla was the sole gasoline-only car to make the list of the ten most fuel-efficient 2006 model vehicles, which was otherwise dominated by hybrids and diesels. Toyota also, however, had the least fuel-efficient SUV: the Land Cruiser with 13 mpg city, 17 highway.
Honda’s Insight hybrid was in first place, with 60 mpg city and 66 mpg highway, followed by Toyota’s Prius hybrid with 60 mpg city and 51 highway. Volkswagen AG grabbed four of the top ten spots with diesel versions of its Beetle, Golf and Jetta models.
Ford was the only U.S. automaker to make the top ten with the hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle. Ford also took top honors with its mid-sized Focus station wagon for that segment, and with the Ford Ranger as the most fuel-efficient pickup truck.
The automatic version of DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, with an 8.3-liter engine, had the worst fuel economy of any vehicle rated, getting 9 mpg in the city and 12 mpg on the highway.