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August 14, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Beating Fuel Economy Expectations with Diesel

The fact that diesel cars owners typically achieve real world fuel economy that exceeds EPA estimates is the standard and not an exception.

In all the excitement around all-electric vehicles what has gone unnoticed is the introduction of a vehicle that gets 712 miles on a single tank….of diesel.  General Motors is out with the second generation Chevy Cruze diesel that gets an estimated 52 miles per gallon on the highway. Those that have taken it for a spin also report that its real world fuel economy exceeds its EPA estimated value as well.

Electric vehicles are getting all the attention. It makes sense. It’s a new shiny technology that offers cheap power and zero emission accolades for its drivers. According to the Energy and Environment Study Institute, the battery electric models offered for sale in the U.S. today come with an average base price of $63,000 and an average driving range 211 miles. 

What is not making the news and should are advancements in clean diesel technology that offer superior fuel economy at an affordable base price with near zero emissions. Case in point is the second generation Chevy Cruze diesel just released this year that offers a 1.6 liter tubocharged diesel engine that gives its owners 52 miles per gallon on the highway with a $25,000 base price. Consumers looking for superior driving range will appreciate superior fuel economy that can deliver 712 miles on a single tank of diesel. A Chevy Cruze diesel owner can drive from Washington, DC to Chicago on a single tank, with fuel to spare, while a typical EV owner would need to stop at least 3 times to make the same trip.

The news for the Cruze gets even better. Evidence suggests that the Cruze actually gets better real world fuel economy than what the EPA estimates.  Several auto journalists recently took a Cruze diesel out for a 280 mile spin and found that the combined fuel economy – highway and city driving – was substantially better than the EPA estimate.

“Our experience over 280 miles in the automatic version underscores the widespread evidence that under many circumstances, diesel cars can significantly outperform their fuel-economy ratings.”

"But there's no questioning its fuel efficiency: our automatic Cruze Diesel returned a stunning 48.2 mpg reading on the trip computer over our usual two-thirds highway, one-third city test route. That's significantly better than the car's EPA ratings, which are 31 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, and 37 mpg combined for the automatic version." 

The fact that diesel cars owners typically achieve real world fuel economy that exceeds EPA estimates is the standard and not an exception. Consumer Affairs reports that diesel drivers typically report mileage that is 20 percent  better than the EPA sticker.

For car consumers, choices are great. The entry of more battery electrics into the market will fill the need for those buyers looking for this technology. The release of the second generation Chevy Cruze diesel also fills a need. Consumers looking for an affordable option to maximize high mileage without compromising on performance or combined fuel economy have an option with the Chevy Cruze diesel.  


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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