American vs. Japanese Fuel Economy for 2007 Cars

Well, it seems about time to go ahead and revisit an old topic – the apparent huge discrepancy between American and Japanese automobiles.

I last looked at this issue back in October of 2006 when I compared the top five most fuel efficient vehicles of 2006 for each group of cars.  While the overall result wasn’t shocking – Japanese cars got better gas mileage – the distance between the two groups of cars absolutely blew me away.

For the 2007 comparison, I expanded the pool to the top 10 most fuel efficient vehicles in the thought that maybe my numbers from 2006 were a bit skewed due to the extraordinary gas mileage by the Toyota Prius and the now deceased Honda Insight.

And, just for fun, I also found the Japanese’s 11 through 20 most fuel efficient vehicles, just in case their top 10 vehicles blew away the American competition for a second straight year.

I gathered all of my gas mileage information from the United States government’s website regarding gas mileage and EPA estimates – – so all of my information should be very accurate.  So, on that note, here’s what I came up with:

American Cars

Chevrolet Aveo         37       27
Ford Focus         37       27
Pontiac Vibe         36       30
Saturn Ion         35       26
Chevrolet Cobalt         34       25
Pontiac G5         34       25
Chrysler Sebring         32       24
Dodge Caliber         32       28
Saturn Vue Hybrid         32       27
Ford Escape Hybrid         31       36
Average Gas Mileage:      34.0    27.5

Japanese Cars

Toyota Prius         51       60
Honda Civic Hybrid         51       49
Toyota Corolla         41       32
Toyota Yaris         40       34
Toyota Camry Hybrid         38       40
Honda Fit         38       31
Kia Rio         38       29
Hyundai Accent         37       28
Nissan Versa         36       30
Toyota Matrix         36       30
Average Gas Mileage:      40.6    36.3

Japanese Cars – Part 2

Nissan Sentra         36       29
Hyundai Elantra         36       28
Honda Accord Hybrid         35       28
Mazda 3         35       28
Kia Spectra         35       27
Nissan Altima         35       26
Mitsubishi Lancer         34       27
Hyundai Sonata         34       24
Kia Optima         34       24
Mazda MX-5         30       25
Average Gas Mileage:      34.4    26.6

In looking at America’s top ten most fuel efficient vehicles and Japan’s top ten most fuel efficient vehicles, it really doesn’t appear to be a fair fight.  Japan’s top ten cars get 19.4% better gas mileage on the highway and 32% better gas mileage in the city in comparison to America’s top ten.

Even in looking at Japan’s number 11 through 20 cars, they get better highway mileage and slightly worse city fuel economy than America’s top ten cars.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the gap is going to any time soon, especially considering the fact it seems that American car manufacturers are still focused on forcing SUVs and trucks on us.

And with continued slumping sales, it seems about time that American car manufacturers got their act together and gave American consumers what they are making painfully obvious that they want – reliable, fuel efficient cars.


  1. Anonymous says

    So true.

  2. Please make it fair – compare the same size / class of vehicles.
    I like to use an analogy of boxing or wrestling. You should compare like you were a person shopping – same relative size and wieght class.
    You should compare the normal Camry & Accord (non hybrid) with the Ford Fusion and the Pontiac G6. I bet that would show that American cars are very comparable in economy and technology.
    I agree that it is a shame Ford & GM do not have more hybrids and smaller cars for sale in the US like they do in Europe and Asia. In reality they represent a small % of vehicles sold here. With fuel costs higher and the sales in smaller cars increasing, I bet you will see more products like that from the Detroit based Automakers.

  3. it just shows if this country TRULY wanted to conserve energy the government would have to intervene strongly. it would have to mandate that the manufacturers could only make effiecient vehicles– no more hummers getting 9mpg, no 8 cylinders, why do we need cars that go 140 mph? govern cars to 75 mph perhaps saving lives and fuel? it will never happen though, because automakers and fuel companies help get people elected with tons of cash “contributions”, so the US will continue to make junk cars with lower mileage ratings and people will continue to buy them, but don’t ask me why.

  4. milan soni says

    only americans dont like the fuel efficiency or quality of the vehicles made by their nations cos.outside us all three big us cos. are making good success.hear in india too.the americans need to start loving and respecting their cos. and products.

  5. i agree that japanese cars may have better overall gas mileages. but your overall presentation of the information at hand is flawed. kia and hyundai are NOT japanese car brands, they’re korean. so the averages for your overall list of fuel mileages is already thrown off. so next time you make a comparison: 1st. as stated above compare cars by classes, 2nd. come up with an equal number list of cars to compare between the manufacturers of the US and japan, and 3rd. please ensure that the cars included in an article named “japanese vs american” are all either japanese or american…..its like including BMW in the amrican car list.

    and as far as making cars that only go 75 mph sorry but enthusiasts, racing teams, race tracks, sponsors, car companies, and anyone invovlved in the mutlibillion dollar industry that is auto racing would never allow to only make cars that are environment oriented and with no performance in mind. is not only government policies.

  6. William Wilgus says

    Well, my ’05 Ford Focus with auto tranny gets a little over the EPA’s 32 mpg highway—at 85–90 mph with the a/c on. I don’t like to drive that fast, but it’s safer to keep up with the traffic on the interstates than it is to do the speed limit. (I get over 37 at 55.) But best of all, I’ll be able to afford the parts when if breaks down after the warranty’s off. Don’t think I could say the same if I’d bought a foreign car.

  7. KIA and Hyundai are part of Toyota.

  8. Thought you might like this site. We are looking for the new Japanese
    car not on the mkt yet that gets 100 m/p/gallon. It isn’t the smart car

  9. import hater says

    id rather have an american car so first of all i can support my OWN country and also id rather paty more in gas than less because if you think about it if your in one of those shi ty imports thats are so small your in a death box imports suck! they should start making graveyards where you get buried with your “smart” pos cars KEEP IT DOMESTIC

  10. Contrary to popular belief, many of these small cars are pretty safe. What would make them even less “death box”-ish would be if people weren’t driving around Expeditions or F-350s to make a quick run to the grocery store.

  11. well it appears to me that we will have too face this problem but we should all go to the store and buy us some suv’s!@

  12. who doesnt like to go fast dana? plus if people only buy japanese cars that will lose revenue to the U.S. this could also tranlate into thousands of americans losing jobs if companies go out of business

  13. herecumdajudge says

    the simple fact is the energy industries will always stick it to the common man. If we move to 100 mile to the gallon cars..the bloodsuckers will manufacture some excuse to raise prices to match. remember insulating homes to save money on energy? efficient ac’s? furnaces? Whom of you is paying less for elec. and gas today raise your hand..yeah right! You can’t beat th’ man..ain’t never happened; ain’t gonna!!

  14. Hyundai is NOT a japanese automaker.

  15. It is too bad that these vehicles from Japan are the only one that are allowed in the north american market.If you check and see what else they have in Japan they have even better cars that are more efficient. But lets save the big 3 because they are to to slow and ignorant to compete

  16. Look, if the big three made better cars instead of these gas guzzlers we have now, they wouldn’t be in this mess. You do not need a fraggin Hummer to pick up your kids or go to the store. It’s ridiculous people! Yeah, sure if the job your doing requires a pickup truck then use one. But you don’t need to use one to see Grandma 300 miles away!

  17. waruigaijin says

    Athough your point is valid. The poster above proved a great point. The Korean made cars should not be there. All the green people need to chill. We need v8s to move materials/ products.That said soccer moms/dad middle class America loves the status symbol in all its forms. Using a big suv to grab the kids makes people feel “rich”. If you can afford the SUV you can afford the gas. Alot of Americans simply dont want small cars. To make matters worse small cars made in America are considered no more than a “econo box”.

  18. Arun Kumar says

    Also, please use actual “sales-weighted” average rather than a straight average. If Honda Civic is sold in great quantities than Hyundai Accent, then a sales weighted average would be more accurate.

    Also, you should compare the weighted-average costs of these cars compared to the non-hybrids and compute the cost per mile to do a fair comparison.



  19. BEAMERICAN says

    i work at a honda dealer, and they are a joke parts are to damn much. i drive gms if my alt dyes cost is $100.00 honda 425.00 wake up people suport america. we have a nuff jap crap in the us. keep bying this stuff and we all be working at burger king. the money goes back to japan or china. dont let america down..

  20. Anyone who would buy an awful American car due to nationalism is only making it worse for that company because it rewards bad design.

    Right wing nutjobs with elementary notions of patriotism.

  21. why dont you include the ford focus hybrid? in washington dc in 2009 tests were done on the ford focus and driving specialists showed that on one tank of gas the car went almost 1,500 miles! on 1 tank of gas! thats remarkable! what is that like 80 mpg? the prius gets around 50 right? 80mpg>50mpg?

  22. Many japanese automakers like toyota have plants in the USA(to escape export tax, thus lowering its price in the US). You are not making the US lose jobs if you are buying japanese cars.


  1. […] Japan’s top ten cars get 19.4% better mileage on the highway, and are 32% better in the city. Check out the original ‘Daily Fuel Economy Tip‘ post for more details. […]

  2. […] American vs. Japanese Fuel Economy for 2007 CarsEven in looking at Japan’s number 11 through 20 cars, they get better highway mileage and slightly worse city fuel economy than America’s top ten cars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the gap is going to any time soon, … […]

  3. […] The average gas mileage for the Top 10 most fuel efficient American cars is 34.0 Highway/27.5 City. For the Japanese Top 10 […]

  4. […] Originally Posted by Risen But consumers aren’t clamoring for it. If they were, car companies would change the game up. As far as developing new technologies for cars, American car companies are vehemently reluctant to do so because such changes require sweeping retooling of the manufacturing process, and more importantly, is completely dependent on the energy policies the government decides to enact. GM had everything going for hydrogen cars until the Bush administration abandoned the hydrogen initiative and started on biofuels. Again, the government’s interference keeps the capitalist system from doing what it needs to do to meet the challenges of the future. The car companies already expressed that they wouldn’t be able to meet the 35 mpg standard by 2020 set by Bush. It would require them to make lightweight unsafe cars in order to meet such fuel efficiency ratings. Excuse me, but what a load of bull. If the American consumers don’t want this then they are idiots. Its going to save them loads over the long term. I think the American public are often not informed about what they are missing out on. They don’t have reasonable options when it comes to fuel efficient cars. Japan and Europe even make fuel efficient larger cars (lets face it that’s what Americans love) that compete with the smaller, more fuel efficient American ones. And I should think they are pretty damn safe too! Sure these companies will probably will have to rethink how big and heavy they make cars and some consumers will be unhappy about this, but do ordinary people really need to drive Hummers? Japanese and European car manufacturers can make fuel efficient cars with one hand tied behind their backs because they have made it their business to care about it. American car manufacturers don’t because it costs money to develop the technology (that they should have been working on 15 years ago!), either that or they’re too chummy with the oil companies. And lets face it, if they had done this years ago the government wouldn’t need to interfere – clearly they need to be pushed. I understand that the times are tough but it needs to be done. If the American manufacturers don’t move with the times they will be obsolete in a few years anyway – then there definitely won’t be any jobs. I think the goverment will have to help them out but this is a fantastic move. Be proud America! This may be one of the biggest enviromental policies to be introduced in history. I’m proud of you! BTW here are some statistics to convince you of the disparity: American vs. Japanese fuel economy […]

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