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The Most And Least Fuel Efficient New Cars - EPA Says Subaru Is Still 2nd Best

The EPA released its new fuel-mileage results and finds Subaru's lineup of 2022 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent rank 2nd best in U.S. automaker's fleets. See how they accomplish it with an all-wheel-drive lineup.


With gas prices rising, Americans rank fuel efficiency as the most critical factor in their decision to purchase a vehicle; according to a study by Edmunds and Consumer Reports, drivers of less fuel-efficient SUVs are most interested in better mileage. When you think of an all-wheel-drive SUV, it typically isn't the most fuel-efficient drivetrain unless it's a Subaru.

The EPA just released its 2021 Automotive Trends Report and finds Subaru's lineup of all-wheel-drive vehicles, including the 2022 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent, still rank 2nd best in the U.S. among automakers with a gas-powered lineup. Honda has the most fuel-efficient lineup after Tesla, which has an an-all-electric fleet.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

The most fuel-efficient new car lineups

The EPA says Tesla's all-electric fleet had the lowest tailpipe CO2 emissions and highest fuel economy of all large manufacturers. Honda, Subaru, and Hyundai followed Tesla.

The least fuel-efficient new car lineups

The Automakers with the highest new vehicle average CO2 emissions and the lowest fuel economy of the prominent manufacturers are Stellantis, Ford, and GM.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
photo credit: 2021 EPA U.S. Automotive Trends Report

Subaru ranks second in fuel economy among all U.S. automakers

Subaru's real-world fuel economy has increased from 28.1 mpg in 2015 to 28.5 mpg in 2020 for its entire lineup. The average fuel economy of all auto manufacturers is 25.4 mpg.

Subaru has the second-lowest emissions among all U.S. automakers

The EPA report says Subaru has the second-lowest CO2 emissions for its all-wheel-drive lineup. Subaru and Hyundai tied for the lowest CO2 emissions with 312 g/mi, with Honda the lowest with 305 g/mi.

It's surprising since Subaru only fields all-wheel-drive vehicles except for one, the rear-drive 2022 BRZ sports coupe. All-wheel-drive is generally less fuel-efficient than other configurations. The 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, Impreza, WRX/STI, and Legacy all come standard with all-wheel-drive.

Number one, Honda gets 29.1 mpg for its lineup but has many sedans and compact cars using two-wheel-drive. None of Honda's models come standard with all-wheel-drive.

Subaru uses Boxer engines coupled with a CVT automatic

Subaru vehicles are all powered by horizontally-opposed Boxer engine technology, which is a fuel-efficient powertrain. Subaru is one of the leading manufacturers of continuously variable transmissions (CVT), also used for fuel efficiency. Subaru is a top automaker in adopting CVTs (94%), according to the EPA.

Subaru uses direct gas injection (GDI) technology in 98 percent of its engines, improving fuel mileage. The technology is now standard in all next-generation boxer engines Subaru is rolling out. Subaru also added lean combustion cycles and cylinder deactivation (stop/start) in 63 percent of its new vehicles.

New Subaru vehicles like the 2022 Outback, Ascent, and Legacy also get new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engines that offer similar power and improved fuel mileage over some automakers who still use the less-efficient V6 engine.

With all-wheel-drive SUVs gaining popularity with U.S. shoppers, Subaru still produces the second-best fuel economy with a gas-powered lineup that includes standard all-wheel-drive on all its SUVs like the 2022 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent models.

You Might Also Like: 11 Easy Tips To Improve Your New Subaru Or Any Car’s Fuel Mileage

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA