Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Diminishing Returns of Ever-Higher Fuel Economy

While it's great that there are more and more cars on the U.S. market that get 40 mpg (5.9 l/100km) or better, does it make sense to spend a fortune developing and/or purchasing cars that get even better mileage? For example, Volkwagen recently announced that their 261 miles-per-US-gallon (310 miles-per-Imperial-gallon) XL1 concept will go into limited production. However, with only 100 units planned, the per-unit price will likely be rather high, meaning that the fuel savings would need to be substantial to offset the purchase price premium.

Being curious about the possible savings, I wrote a