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Euro Ford Focus 5-door, 1.6 liter gasoline engine (42.8MPG combined), 1.8 liter diesel engine (54.3MPG combined)
When it comes to fuel efficiency, America comes up way short

When it comes to high mileage vehicles available on the U.S. market, we come up short compared to vehicles available in other countries. Recent research put forth by 40mgp.org shoes that while 113 vehicles available overseas manage to maintain a combined fuel economy rating of 40MPG or higher, only two vehicles made the list in the U.S.

The two vehicles available in the U.S. that crossed the 40MPG threshold were both gasoline-electric hybrids: the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. In many European countries, vehicles achieve a 40MPG or higher rating by using small, ultra-efficient gasoline or diesel engines.

Research by 40mpg.org also showed that over 38 vehicles available outside of the U.S. were able to achieve 50MPG. Of those 38 models researched, 34 used "clean diesel" technology.

Other interesting tidbits brought to light include the fact that the number of vehicles achieving 40MPG or higher outside of the U.S. has risen from 86 in 2005 to 113 in 2007. Likewise, the number has decreased from five in 2005 to two in 2007 for the U.S. In addition, the number of vehicles achieving at least 35MPG outside of the U.S. has risen from 129 in 2005 to 161 in 2007. That number has fallen from nine to six in the U.S.

"We have to face the unpleasant facts here: America is needlessly losing the race to develop the best fuel-efficient technology and then deliver it to the American consumer, which wants these cars and other vehicles that would use less imported fuel and create less global-warming pollution," said Pam Solo, President of the Civil Society Institute (CSI). "The Europeans, Japanese and Chinese are already committed to far more aggressive MPG standards than we are in the United States. Congress needs to show some leadership now and insist on a 40 miles per gallon standard now - not 10 years from now when it will be too late to save Detroit from its worst impulses."

The interesting thing to note is that the vast majority of the vehicle available overseas that achieve such high mileage ratings are made by U.S.-based companies like General Motors and Ford as well as foreign automakers like Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen – all three of which are very familiar to American buyers.

However, until these automakers are given a reason to introduce more fuel efficient models here in the U.S. (i.e. higher government-mandated fuel economy standards), we'll likely continue to see a dearth of affordable, highly fuel efficient vehicles.





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