My Pontiac Firefly / Chevrolet Metro / Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift welcomes fuel efficiency nerds everywhere

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Latest fuel economy stats
for my '98 Firefly 1.0L 5-speed
  best: 2.3 125.1 104.2
 worst: 6.4  44.1  36.8
prev.3: 3.3  82.3  68.6
   all: 3.8  73.4  61.1
L/100km | mpg IMP | mpg US
Jul 28/07: more, graph, calc.
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Best non-hybrid MPG: Mitsubishi Mirage
Highest MPG for a new car: Mitsubishi Mirage?
Mitsubishi's 1.2L, 3-cylinder Mirage is the first new non-hybrid car that can match an old Metro's mileage. The company says 44 mpg (US) highway, 37 city. (Some drivers are already beating that in various economy driving contests.) How? An efficient engine, very light weight and aerodynamic design.

Cheapest to own? 2015 Nissan Micra Forum
2015 Nissan Micra Forum
The Micra's fuel economy isn't its most notable feature -- the $10,000 price is. That makes it one of the cheapest cars to own. And its 109hp, 1.6L engine and good power-to-weight ratio means it's fun to drive too.

Latest 10 posts:
1. Recipe for getting 99.7 mpg from a Geo Metro
2. - famous aerodynamic Honda Civic gets a web site
3. Snapshot: effect of tire pressure on rolling resistance
4. 65+ vehicle modifications for better MPG
5. Metro mania: forget stocks, put your money in old Geos!
6. 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips for better gas mileage
7. Experiment: how long should a block heater be plugged in?
8. Everything old is new again: Car and Driver magazine modifies an econobox to improve MPG
9. Project Convertible XFi: alfresco efficiency
10. The floor is yours: MetroMPG opens a fuel efficiency forum
11 ... 64. Show all posts

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Good MPG forums: I spend a lot of time at and have also been known to lurk around

Chevrolet Aveo forum - discussion of the Chevrolet Aveo and its siblings (Pontiac Wave, Pontiac G3, Suzuki Swift+, Daewoo Kalos).

> Lots more Metro links...
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Send me a note:
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
or here

MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to
ScanGauge fuel economy computer Save fuel with a ScanGauge II fuel economy computer.
I personally recommend this tool. I've owned both versions (I and II) and can't say enough good things about it. If you're serious about saving fuel, get one.

For more information and to order, visit EcoModder.

Your mileage may vary

Posted Tuesday, October 11/05 in General

energuide label

"Hybrid or not, if you want good fuel economy you have to drive like you want it."

Truer words were never spoken. These came from, in an item about U.S. consumer backlash against manufacturers of hybrid vehicles because of their "unattainable" EPA fuel consumption ratings.

This consumer kerfuffle has led to various responses from manufacturers, and from the EPA itself.

Toyota, for one, has printed a pamphlet explaining why its hybrids may not live up to their ratings. Not surprisingly, it cites driving habits as a primary factor.

Ford Escape hybrid

Ford is taking the logical and laudable step of actually educating owners of its hybrids, offering hands-on clinics on hybrid technology and how best to drive the vehicles to wring out the high mpg numbers.

(Manufacturer-sponsored driving clinics are nothing new, but they have traditionally come from makers of "high-performance" cars: in the 90's, Nissan used to offer buyers of its 300 Z cars a race track/skid school at Shannonville, Ontario; Current BMW, Mercedes and Porsche schools are not hard to find. Are manufacturers realizing that in hybrids they've created a different sort of "high performance" vehicle, whose owners will also benefit from specific training?)

EPA sticker - Prius

On the other side of the equation, the U.S. EPA is responding to the complaints with news that it's planning to revise its testing methods to produce figures that are closer to average drivers' results.

But not only will trying to come up with a "once size fits all" rating not work, it passes up a timely opportunity for education.

Here's a suggestion: Instead of just revising down the usual city/hwy ratings, the agency should provide a range of figures for each vehicle that underlines the impact of the biggest variable affecting a vehicle efficiency: driver behaviour. [Oct. 13/05 - See update, below]

There's a road sign on the 401 that lists the fines for getting caught speeding at 10, 20, and 30 km/h over the limit. Apply that logic to fuel economy ratings and let's put stickers on new cars that let drivers choose between 60 mpg (US) at 50 mph, 53 mpg at 60 mph, or 40 mpg at 75 (that's the actual range I've experienced with my Suzukiclone).

As for the city figures, instead of simply (and simplistically) rating my car at 44 mpg (US), It would be more useful to tell me I can expect to see between 37 - 44 mpg (again, the actual range I've experienced with my car), depending on driving style, terrain, temperature, and vehicle load.

And if the goal of the EPA figures is simply to offer a method of *comparing* different vehicles, as opposed to predicting actual mileage (as has been stated in defense of "unrealistic" ratings), then they should abandon mpg statements altogether and switch to a pure ranking system - e.g. this car gets an "EPA-400" rating; it uses twice as much fuel as that "EPA-200" model over there.

But that would be a step in the wrong direction, because it misses the chance to inform drivers about the impact their driving habits has on fuel economy. With a "high & low" mpg range, drivers get a numerical "carrot & stick" - and the understanding that their behaviour will determine which one they'll be more likely to get.

[Oct 13/05 Update: I just learned that since 2003, the EPA window stickers have in fact shown a range of fuel consumption figures for both city/hwy figures... in the small print. The Canadian labels don't have ranges anywhere.]


EcoModder fuel economy forum Note: MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to

darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here