From: John Heilprin, Associated Press
Published October 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Hybrids, Diesel Cars Dominate List of Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles for 2006

WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co., with its hybrid SUVs, is the only American carmaker to crack the top-10 fuel economy list for 2006 vehicles.


The manual version of the hybrid Honda Insight tops the list, with 60 miles per gallon in the city and 66 mpg on the highway, and the hybrid Toyota Prius is second with 60 mpg in the city and 51 on the highway, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy said Wednesday.


Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG make eight of the top 10 cars, mostly hybrid electric-gas or diesel-powered. Ford Escape hybrid SUVs, two-wheel and four-wheel drive, round out the list.


The only gas-only vehicle to make the top 10 is the manual Toyota Corolla.


By classes of vehicles, the most fuel efficient SUV is the Ford Escape, with 36 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. The most fuel efficient pickup is the Ford Ranger, 24 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.


Among station wagons, the manual Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla Matrix are tops, each with 30 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. The most fuel efficient minivan is the Honda Odyssey, 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.


Cargo and passenger vans are led by from General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet and GMC, each with 15 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway.


The government compiles the annual list based on information from manufacturers. The fuel economy estimates are determined by averaging numbers from a specific set of tests.


The list excludes some of the largest vehicles, such as the Hummer H2 and the Ford Excursion, because the law exempts vehicles that weigh more than 8,500 pounds from fuel economy standards.


EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said the list is designed to help consumers choose more wisely. "This year's fleet offers a wider variety of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles for car buyers to select from," he said.


Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the Bush administration is working to get more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road through consumer education and with tax credits for hybrids.


Environmentalists said the government's list shows the administration and carmakers aren't doing enough to help consumers deal with high gasoline prices.


"The biggest single step to saving money at the gas pump, curbing global warming, and cutting America's oil dependence is to make our cars, SUVs and other trucks go farther on a gallon of gas," said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program.


"Automakers shouldn't try to fool consumers by pretending their vehicles get good fuel economy," he said. "They should put gas-saving technology into their cars so that they actually get good fuel economy."


The automatic version of the Dodge Ram pickup, which gets 9 mpg in the city and 12 mpg on the highway, was the least fuel efficient vehicle in this year's survey. Luxury cars, including models from Bentley and Ferrari, completed the list of the 10 least fuel-efficient vehicles.


The Dodge Durango, which gets 12 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway, had the worst fuel economy among SUVs. Dodge is a brand of DaimlerChrysler AG.


Source: Associated Press


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