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Myth Busted - Gasoline cars are more efficient than diesel cars.

None of the 10 most fuel-efficient cars in the U.S. since 1975 was a diesel

Diesel fans love to think their cars are more efficient than gasoline cars. But is it true? Not according to the EPA. With automakers moving ever closer to a high average MPG in their fleet, this fact will weigh heavily on the liquid fuel they choose going forward.

In its most recent report on CO2 and fuel economy trends, the EPA summarized the top ten most fuel efficient vehicles since 1975. The top-selling Prius family holds the top spot, as well as numbers three and four. The now-discontinued Honda Insight (a 2000 model year car) is second. The EPA uses non-adjusted mileage numbers calculated in a lab, but the Prius would still be number one regardless. Toyota also is first, second and third among current model year 2016 vehicles. The Malibu hybrid is the fourth vehicle from the 2016 model year that is on the current list.

The EPA categorizes crossovers as “trucks.” In the EPA's top 10 of this category, the list is topped by the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid AWD, which has an equal fuel efficiency to the 1983 VW compact 2WD diesel pickup. Lexus’ NX200H is the next vehicle, and the rest of the list is a combination of diesel and hybrids. The highest-rated 2016 modern diesel is the BMW X3 xDrive 28d with a 40 MPG rating, five MPG less than the RAV4 Hybrid’s.

Related Stories: The surprising truth about diesel fuel
2016 Toyota Prius Tops Every Diesel Ever and Honda Insight - Consumer Reports
Green comparison of 2015 BMW 535d to Lexus GS 450h shows diesel’s dead-end


EdgarPoe (not verified)    November 3, 2016 - 1:35AM

Bad article. Lets compare apples to apples please. When there are Diesel hybrids, they will be the most efficient.

Phil (not verified)    November 5, 2016 - 1:48AM

In reply to by EdgarPoe (not verified)

The EPA should not be trusted, nor should CARB. The EPS/US Govt. has made the diesel emissions controls systems/regualtion so expensive EU to and other asian manufaturers won't sell diesel cars here anymore.

John Goreham    November 6, 2016 - 2:11PM

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

Fair enough. Hoever, all the diesels have to do now is to be as clean as gasoline engines. If they cannot be cost-effectively, then why do we need them? There have hardly been any available or sold for about a decade in the US. Subtract out the dirty VW cheaters and the population of diesel cars is near zero.

STEVE HANSEN (not verified)    November 3, 2016 - 12:08PM

Because all of the hybrids in the U.S. use gasoline it's not really a surprise the top cars weren't diesels. However, if there were diesel hybrid options in the market I'm sure they would easily surpass the gas hybrids in fuel economy.

John Goreham    November 6, 2016 - 2:16PM

In reply to by STEVE HANSEN (not verified)

Perhaps. If they sold, and if they met current emmission standards. The Prius and other vehicles on the list of gasline cars are huge sales successes. There are no diesel sales successes in the U.S. market. Even before VW was caught polluting at 10 to 40 times the legal limit, the VWs with diesel engines were outsold by gasoline engines with equal or better fuel effciency. We've been over the diesel hybrid topic in the past here:

Avi Meron (not verified)    November 4, 2016 - 11:22AM

Really guys, are you re-reading what you wrote? its so insane that it borders on lunacy! are you guys trump supporters? or just "no so smart", which actually a redundant statement! LOL
A diesel engine is, and always will be more efficient than a gasoline engine, no matter what EPA or you say! please check your "understandings" of engines!
How is the engine used in an application, is an entirely different matter! I am sure you know that, so please stop saying "not so smart stuff"! I might mistaken you to trump supporters, which the worst insult one can use!

John Goreham    November 6, 2016 - 2:20PM

In reply to by EdgarPoe (not verified)

There was a time in America when diesel cars were "Great?" When was that? The sales numbers have been terrible in the entirety of the modern age. If by great you mean "Made a tiny minority of buyers very happy" I think you could define now as that time.

EdgarPoe (not verified)    November 7, 2016 - 4:06AM

Almost all of our food is shipped on diesel trucks. The Navy and all the world's ocean shipping done on diesel. The trackors that plan and harvest our food in done with diesel -- and with no extra 75 cents a gallon added on (as in California). And the best car I ever had is on diesel. I'm waiting for the european Audi hybrid diesel to come to the USA -- I guess it'll be a long wait if Hillary (the animal torturer) is elected.