2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco

2014 Toyota Corolla's gasoline engine bests diesel rivals' MPG and emissions

In just the latest example of gasoline cars busting the diesel myth the 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco's 35 MPG combined beats its diesel competitors' fuel economy. A close look at the match up reveals the Corolla also has the lowest emissions and lowest fuel cost to operate per mile in any situation.

At a recent Toyota product launch for the midsize 2014 Corolla, Toyota’s representatives stated that the new 2014 Corolla LE Eco is the segment’s gasoline powered, non-hybrid fuel economy champ. Based on our analysis it seems as if the 2014 Corolla LE Eco is more than that. It is the most fuel economical mid-size family car period (non-hybrid). It also has better green credentials.

Fuel economy is not which car gets the best mileage (the Corolla does by the way). Rather, fuel economy is the measure of how economical a car is to run in terms of fuel cost, and it is not the same for diesel and for cars that use regular gasoline. Diesel is more expensive and that has to be factored in for a fuel economy analysis. Let’s start with fuel efficiency, which is a measure of how far a car can go on a gallon of fuel.

The 2014 Toyota LE Eco with its standard wheels gets 35 MPG combined. One Toyota representative we spoke to was firm in their confidence that this number will not be an exaggeration like the Hyundai numbers of a few years back. In fact, according to our source, the EPA verified the test for the Corolla themselves, rather than trust Toyota. The Chevy Cruze diesel gets 33 MPG combined and the Jetta 34 MPG.

On the highway the Cruze beats the Corolla in fuel efficiency garnering a 46 MPG rating. Corolla gets 42. However, when we compare fuel economy using $ 4.00 as the price per gallon of diesel, and $3.40 for regular unleaded, the Corolla again wins the fuel economy battle costing just 0.081 cents per mile versus the Cruze at 0.087 cents per mile on the highway. These prices are real in the author’s area today. Yours may vary.

Next, let’s jump to the environmental arguments. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2014 Corolla LE Eco produces less CO2 per mile than either the Volkswagen Jetta diesel or the Chevy Cruze diesel. The Corolla weighs in at 257 grams per mile, then the Jetta with 297 grams per mile, then the Chevy Cruze with 307 grams per mile. It seems sort of hard here for the diesel folks to claim any sort of victory in terms of environmental benefits versus gasoline.

Let’s now look at the diesel societal-benefits argument. Despite diesel car advocates trumpeting their favorite fuel’s miraculous abilities, diesels are neither more fuel efficient, nor more environmentally friendly than modern gasoline powered cars. Let’s now review how we get either diesel or gasoline. We get either and both, from a barrel of refined crude oil. Currently, according to a wide number of sources, a barrel of refined crude in America yields about 19 gallons of gasoline and about 11 gallons of diesel. Diesel lovers can wish otherwise, and we are willing to be proven wrong about this, but by all accounts moving to diesel does nothing to reduce America’s dependence on oil, foreign or otherwise. In fact it moves us in the wrong direction.

Thus, we have established that the Toyota Corolla has better fuel efficiency in terms of combined mileage than the two diesel cars it competes with. We also have shown why the car is more fuel economical, even on the highway than the Cruze. Furthermore, we have proven that the environmental measurements and societal measurements most commonly associated with cars favor the gasoline car over diesel. In terms of pricing, similarly equipped Corollas are just a bit less expensive than the Cruze, and much less expensive than the Jetta (about 20% lower). Corollas also have two years of free maintenance which means lower overall cost of ownership.

Just in case the diesel advocates wish to explain away the Corolla LE Eco as some sort of fluke, let us spoil the fun by also pointing out that the 2013 Nissan Sentra gets equal fuel efficiency (33 combined) and has lower output of CO2 than the Cruze. In fact, the Civic HF does as well. And the new 2014 Mazda 3. All are more fuel economical than all the diesel cars in their class.

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If a Cruz diesel gets 33mpg combined, would a Cruz Eco diesel get 36mpg combined? A comparison of the same car in gas and diesel would be interesting in terms of gas/diesel wars. " $ 4.00 as the price per gallon of diesel, and $3.40 for regular unleaded" " These prices are real in the author’s area today. Yours may vary." eia.gov shows the difference being more like 33 cents for the week of 7/14/14. Just sayin'
I believe you misquote the jetta MPG. I get 42 MPG
I get 50 mpg routinely with my VW Jetta, and I also burn 100% locally-produced soy biodiesel (B100), which is carbon neutral. I'm waiting for a car that can do this and isn't 11 years old. Why quibble pettily over the lackluster models in the article? In this age where we rape the earth for a drop of oil, anything under 50 mpg is not worth considering..
Carbon neutral? Growing crops isnt carbon neutral because you do it on land that would otherwise absorb carbon. Especially in Brazil, soy crops replace forest. Maybe that forest was leveled a long time ago where you live, but where forest can be sustained by climate, growing soy in place of carbon absorbing natural vegetation isnt exactly carbon neutral.
You raise a good point and I agree with your statement in theory, but I would need numbers to back that up. How much carbon dioxide is absorbed by an acre of forest vs let's say an acre of camelina? I think there are good reasons to not cut down forest that have nothing to do with cutting it down for biofuel. However, given the assumption that you are using an acre of land for fuel production that was otherwise unused, the fuel you produce would be carbon neutral. Of course, there are losses due to power needed to harvest, process, to produce the equipment needed to harvest and process, etc. etc. 100% can never be truly achieved.
I get 45mpg on my 98 beetle TDI.... seems like this guy is paid by Toyota or something....
Keep in mind that the 1998 VW Beetle is no longer made. That generation of diesel engine cannot meet current emissions standards for particulate or NOx. Its EPA-rated 38 MPG combined and 43 highway is impressive as long as diesel is cheap where you live. Diesel vehicles like the '98 Bug TDI made before emissions laws required them to be as clean as gasoline cars were also affordable.
Diesel here in California is $2.45 while gasoline is in the low $3. I get that 45mpg ave per tank, so not even taking the price into account it's still more efficient. That's also driving my beetle 80-85mph on the freeway. The VW claimed mpg is lower than what u really get in real life. And also the mpg of diesel doesn't fluctuate as much with my driving habit. I've had a 2013 corolla where I struggled to get 30mpg ave on a tank when I drive it 80-85mph on the freeway. I'll have to really baby the gas pedal to get it up to 33mpg. I don't know about the new 2016 corolla maybe they have direct injection w/c would increase the mpg of it but I don't think it'll be anywhere close to a diesel jetta or beetle efficient mpg.
I've driven a diesel for the last 15 years starting with an emissions be damned Jetta A2 right through to my current uber clean Mercedes Bluetec. Any fair comparison of gasoline and diesel needs to consider real world driving; sure today's gasoline offerings get 35 mpg on a level road with cruise locked at 50 mph but unless your happy leading a convoy behind you what happens to this mileage if you knock it up a notch. Here in Canada I'm averaging 125 kph (78 mph) in my V6 E350 with a consumption of 7.6 L per 100 km (31 mpg). I challenge you to report out on the Toyota under the same conditions. (Yes I do need to spend a few pennies per litre for DEF to get my squeaky clean exhaust.)
Pat, thank you offering your first-hand positive experiences. Diesels do offer great drivability and highway mileage. I can't comment on a modern US-spec Mercedes diesel's comparability to the Corolla because Mercedes has no 2017 model year diesel cars for sale. Mercedes is presently under investigation for cheating on emissions in both the US and German market: http://www.motortrend.com/news/mercedes-benz-drops-diesels-for-2017/ I did recently test a modern diesel-equipped Jaguar XF 20D (similar to BMW 3 Series). My carefully-recorded primarily highway mileage, with as much cruise control I could use (mostly in NY state where the speed limit is 55 MPH) was 37 MPG. The diesel has the same performance as a Honda Accord base model or Lexus ES 300h. I carefully compare the green credibility and comment on the drivability of that car in the review. This week I have a Honda Civic 1.5-liter turbo gasoline version. It is half the price of the Jag, has better driveability, more room, and is much faster than the Jaguar. My mileage is 37 MPG. Here is a link to the review: http://bestride.com/reviews/new-car-reviews/review-2017-jaguar-xf-20d-awd-r-sport-a-focus-on-handling Our comments don't support links so you have to cut and paste.