Skip to main content

Mazda beats Honda to take EPA fuel efficiency crown in new study

The EPA’s newest analysis of fleet-wide fuel economy and CO2 emissions puts Mazda at the top of major automakers.

Mazda is the major automaker that has the best fleet-wide fuel efficiency and the best CO2 emissions scores according to the EPA. US automakers improved fuel efficiency in model year 2013 according to a recently released study by the EPA. The study ranks eleven automakers in the US according to adjusted MPG and CO2 emissions. Mazda has the highest MPG average at 28.1 and the lowest output average of CO2 at 316 g/m. This is a gain of a full MPG over 2012 for Mazda and a drop of 12 g/m of CO2.

Mazda Tops, Nissan and Subaru Make Gains

Mazda led the leaders overall and also had good gains from 2012 to 2013. Nissan, number four on the list, had the most improvement adding 2.1 MPG on average. Subaru, third on the list, also had strong gains. The top eight of the 11 automakers ranked were all companies that began as either Asian or German brands. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had the worst EPA averages.

Hyundai-Kia Booted Off the List
Auto enthusiasts may remember that Hyundai and Kia had a scandal involving EPA estimated fuel economy. The EPA has not even included those automakers in the rankings. A footnote about those two automakers says “Hyundai and Kia are not included in this table due to a continuing investigation. In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia corrected fuel economy labels for many vehicle models.” The footnote goes on to say that had these automakers not been “under investigation” they may have topped the listings. Draw your own conclusions, I prefer not to be sued.

What Happened to Toyota?
Toyota has an excellent reputation as the maker of the Prius, the most popular green vehicle ever produced, and for making many other hybrid and full electric vehicles. The Toyota Corolla LE Eco is also an amazing vehicle. However, Toyota also sells a lot of trucks. Perhaps not by comparison to Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, and GM, but a lot nonetheless. Toyota also makes a lot of sport ‘utes and maxi-vans. This hurts Toyota. Toyota’s wide availability of all-wheel-drive vehicles also drags its average down.

Tesla Not A Major Automaker
Those hoping to find Tesla at the top of this list will be disappointed. The EPA does not make mention of the automaker directly in this report, but does say good things about alternative energy vehicles. Tesla is presently ranked forth or fifth among US brands offering plug-in cars for sale in the US and in 2013 sold approximately 17,650 Model S luxury sedans in the US market. It would seem Tesla might be one of the highest MPG brands and lowest CO2 brands were it included. Perhaps if its US sales grow to more than about 1,500 units per month it will be included at some point.

For more information on the report, you can see the executive summary at this link, which will also take you to the full report.

Related Stories:
Mazda reported to be working on diesel hybrids
CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6 help Mazda dominate Edmunds' Top Rated Vehicles list


Greg (not verified)    October 9, 2014 - 3:00AM

28.1MPG??? I know this is a US gallon, which is smaller than an Imperial gallon, but even so that figure is appalling! My 20 year old sports car averages 35MP(UK)G and our 2013 Nissan diesel averages (yes, averages) 61MPG with CO2 emissions around the 100g/km (160g/mile).
Tell me I read this article wrong? If not, what hope is there for our climate!

Stunned and depresed of England

John Goreham    October 9, 2014 - 12:26PM

In reply to by Greg (not verified)

Greg, please take what follows as only half-serious: 1) Your 20 year old sports car likely outputs more CO2 per mile than a Ford F-150 Pickup EcoBoost (the most popular engine choice). You can check at See the second tab when you look up your vehicle 2) England burned more coal per capita than perhaps any other nation ever did, or ever will. 3) Here in "Murica we make and have the most efficient vehicles on the planet. Some of us also use a lot of trucks, which drags down our average. We have open-spaces bigger than your country and that led to a big-car culture. No offense to England, just adding perspective.

Parks McCants    October 10, 2014 - 1:12PM

John, your story is full of holes. "Fleet wide" is the missing key word here. when we look to Honda, Toyota and others, light trucks and SUVs come into the equation, Mazda has a couple but does not meet the other manufacturers in diversity.

John Goreham    October 10, 2014 - 2:36PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

Thanks Parks. I added "Fleet-wide" to the teaser and the opening paragraph. I think it improves the story. Honda's Ridgeline "truck" was 1% of Honda's sales. It's the Odyssey Maxi-van that really put Honda behind Mazda. Other than that vehicle Honda and Mazda have a very similar lineup. Toyota is really hurt by its truck sales the most in my opinion, and I thought it worthy of mention in the story body.

Howie (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 11:39AM

The "fleet-wide" note is important.
Most medias will simply spread the news as "Mazdas are more efficient" but when you apportion the numbers in the study, you get :

For cars :
Toyota 31.4 (advantage hybrid here ?)
Honda 30.4
Mazda 30.2 ("Skyactive" showing yet potential in traditional engineering ?)
Nissan 29.8
Subaru 28.6
Ford 28.0
VW 27.6
BMW 26.7
GM 25.5
FCA 24.0

For (real) trucks :
Toyota 19.8
FCA 19.7
Ford 19.3
GM 18.8

Basic line is japanese brands still lead the pack while US brands are still lagging despite a more technological approach (turbos, DI). Hyundai's and Kia's figures are not available pendign revision (and not Ford ?) but would be middle of the pack.