When you’re shopping for a car, what fuel efficiency standard do you look for?

A new agreement between the Obama administration and auto manufacturers sets an average 54.5 miles per gallon as a fuel efficiency standard by the year 2025. Today’s Question: When you’re shopping for a car, what fuel efficiency standard do you look for?

  • Steve D

    I commute to work 75 miles each day. I look for the highest mileage I can afford in a used car usually about 3 years old. My current Buick mid size car is providing me with 31 MPG on average with mainly highway miles and some city driving. I wish my rural bus was not a causality of tight budgets.

  • Corno Di Bassetto

    I look for around 35-40 highway. Much more then that and I feel that with all the SUV’s, pickups and trucks on the road that I am in an unsafe car, because of the increase of plastic and other light materials that do not protect the driver and passengers that well.

  • uptownZombie

    The highest I can get where I still get a vehicle that I like driving. If I hate the vehicle the look and feel of the vehicle, but it has a ridiculously high mileage rate I won’t buy it.

    I currently own a 2008 Mazda3 and I love it. I regularly see high 20s- mid 30s, and I’ve even seen 40+ when on longer car trips.

  • GaryF

    Being 6’4 and seeing that I look into the visor of most cars, fuel efficiency is way down on my list of features.

    It matters, but having a car that fits myself, my family , my job, and my lifestyle is more important.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I prefer to buy cars as infrequently as possible. A new car is a meaningless status symbol I don’t need. Since fuel prices are only going up, I’ll look for as high mileage as possible.

  • Amy

    I bought a car a few months ago with the goal to increase my fuel efficiency but it ultimately came down to safety and cost for me. I bought a Chevy Malibu because of the safety rating and it is rated highest for fuel economy in its class. I considered other cars, but ultimately chose my Malibu because I felt safer buying a car with mostly metal verses mostly plastic. Most of my driving is city driving, so I average 26-28 mpg.

    I think its great for the goal to be 50 or more mpg average in cars, but the automakers need to achieve that and not compromise safety in their vehicles. I want to know that if I get in an accident, my car is going to protect me

  • Nancy

    the higher the better. Made in America was first on the list and then mileage.

  • http://Nateryan.com Nate.

    Diesel. I have a small Volkswagen wagon and easily get 37+ around town an 45+ on the highway. It’s not a fancy technology and I can get great mileage. I can even carry more stuff inside than most small SUVs. I don’t understand why we haven’t started using more small diesel engines in the US. Europe has accepted diesels for most midsized cars for a while. It provides good mileage without the rare earth minerals and energy that go in to making hybrid batteries.

  • Chris

    We put cost and MPG’s at the top. We just bought a small car (corrola) because it was significantly cheaper than a Prius and gets 36-40 mpg. Moving to that from our SUV (18mpg) was huge, and saved me $200 per month. If the new standard is 54.5 that would be great but not if the cost is $10k more than a small car. On the other hand if gas goes to $6-$7 a gallon than the initial 10K wouldn’t be so bad.

    On a related note, climate change is real and our dependence on foreign oil is real. Both are bad and if this is the best way to reduce both I am OK with that.

  • Bubba

    I wouldn’t be caught dead in a girly car. Give me my F150 or Suburban and get out of my way.

  • Greg T

    Absolutely, I’ve actually been waiting 3 years to buy a new car, hoping to see big leaps in gas mileage. So far I have been disappointed. My driving habits are not good for a hybrid so I need either a high mileage gas engine or a plug-in electric.

  • Adam G

    I look for the highest gas mileage I can get. Performance is not important to me. I think a smaller car forces me to simplify my life, and also helps save money.

  • Marty

    My wife and I recently purchased a used Honda from the mid ’90s. This is because the newer heavier cars, although much nicer to drive, do not get as much gas mileage as many older econo cars. We are getting 37mi to the gallon in the city, and 44 on the highway. And it only cost us $3000. So in my opinion Gas Mileage is the supreme motivator when looking for a car. We could have spent 10 times as much, but it would not have gotten us better mileage. Best investment we have made!

  • Elinor Opitz

    My ’95 Civic is wearing out now, at 214,000 miles. I have always loved the gas mileage (35-40 mpg) and the small size. I can fit into just about any parking space!

    Now that I have one eye on a new car, a compact car with good gas mileage is what I’m looking for. Probably another Honda, too, because of the incredibly long lifespan.

    I am so disappointed that in the 17 years since my car was manufactured, it is still hard find a new car that gets that kind of mileage. Given the pace of technological progress in everything else today, it is shocking that auto makers are so far behind. I may just buy another old, used car and spend 30% of the money for the same gas mileage as a new vehicle.

  • Kevin VC

    Generally around 40 mpg or higher is the min I will go. It is not hard for manufacturers to make them if not even double that.

    I have NO NEED for a land yacht. No reason to have a large blundering car that takes up two lanes and endangering others on the road….

    Especially when I see most of those chatting on a phone and driving drive a land Yacht. And 10 gallons to the mile is a joke.

    Kia motors has been great for pretty much being affordable, great gas millage and for safety.

    Remember in the late 70′s there was a car company, a start up, in Burnsville called H&M vehicles. They had a car that got 100 mpg. Granted it could at best do 45-50 mph, but it was still Highway worthy. No reason this could not be improved by today’s technology.

  • david

    I have all my adult life tried to live close enough to work that my daily commute would be as short as possible. Gas mileage was never a factor. I was laid off 2 years ago and had to take a job 65 miles away. I’m back working near home now, but would never consider any car that got less than 30 MPG.

    On that commute I learned one thing. It’s way more cost effective to change the nut behind the wheel than purchase a new car to save money. Most drivers on the road drive so inefficiently its sad. I’ve can far exceed the EPA mileage rating in my car just but using some common sense and slowing down. Going 60 MPH instead of 70 the freeway added only 5 minutes to my commute, but netted me 5 more MPG. That was free!

  • ak

    VW diesels all the way:

    best tank: 51 mpg, 60 mph, summer temp

    worst tank: 37 mpg, interstate speed, -20 degrees

    biggest station wagon on the road :)

  • J Thomas

    We recently replaced my 1992 Volvo 240, a heavy steel beast which got 26MPG on a bad day, with a new Hyundai Accent 2-door hatchback. The new Accent is 19 years newer and only gets, on average, 30 MPG. I really like the car but this is absurd.

  • steve

    We keep our cars 7 to 10 years on average as we live close to our jobs and feel it is more important to get value out of the car rather than trade out for a more fuel efficient car sooner. That said, I both our cars get 20+ around town. One car gets high 20′s on the highway and the other mid-30s. Next car we buy, which is hopefully many years off, I will be looking at something that is substantially better than either car we have. Would love 40+ on the highway and would consider a hybrid for the better city driving which makes sense given our shorter commutes.

  • Mark

    Our country is too reliant on a single source of transportation fuel.

    Our next car may be an EV, may use natural gas, may use biodiesal. However, it will use no gasoline produced from crude oil.

    Most likely be a Leaf as it fits our needs well.

  • kennedy

    There is no magical number for me. It is all about cost of ownership. If the cost of upgrading to a more fuel efficient car is higher than the fuel savings, it is a bad choice for me. As the price of fuel goes up, there is more value in conserving fuel. If I own my inefficient vehicle (no loan), the replacement cost is pretty high and I would tend to keep driving it.

  • KC

    I am happy to have 40-50 miles per gallon. I used to get it with a toyota Corolla. My current one, the Matrix only gives me about 30 mpg on highway.

  • Amy G

    The most I can afford, simple as that. I had a Malibu that got 22mpg. Never again. Now I have a Yaris which gets between 30-40 mpg depending on how I drive it. I like the idea of biodiesel though…I’m hoping my next car is all electric…we’ll have to see how affordable they get. I’d rather never buy gas again.

  • Sarah

    My 06 Toyota Corolla gets 40 hwy and 30 hwy/city mixed, and that’s pretty good, but I’d love to see 40-50 or better!

    I believe the technology is out there, but the oil companies are suppressing the technology because of their concerns over reduced consumption of their product. I don’t think electric is actually any better, because it still consumes energy to create the electrical energy source.

  • Jason

    Obviously, as good as I can get. Unfortunately, I have priorities that do not allow me to get the mileage I wish I had. I drive a truck because with my lifestyle I need the towing, hauling, and 4wd capabilities. I can only dream of getting anything near 18 mpg.

    But I should note that I offset the poor mileage of my truck by consolidating trips, riding the bus, and using my bicycle much more frequently. Averaged out I probably burn as much or even less gas than many 30+ mpg car owners.