Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who's the Leader in Fuel Efficient Vehicles: GM or Honda?

Green Car Congress (GCC) has an excellent post today examining the claims made by General Motors (GM) that it "leads the industry with more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg, on the highway, than any other manufacturer.”

GM used the recent release of the 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fuel Economy Guide to publicly make these claims. GCC points out that while their claims are true from the frame of reference of an absolute number of models offered, GM also sells more models than any other automaker. The 2007 Fuel Economy Guide lists 298 separate GM models (including different powertrain options for a given model). Fifty-two of those obtain 30 mpg or better on the highway, or 17.45% of total models offered.

However, as GCC goes on to elaborate, more than 18% of all models sold in the US (as listed in the EPA Fuel Economy Guide) deliver 30 mpg or better on the highway (193 models out of 1,058). And on the basis of 30+ mpg highway models as a percentage of all models sold, while GM is not the lowest of the top six automakers (that falls to the Chrysler Group), neither is it the leader (see graphic below).

[Graphic: Total 2007 models, models with >30 mpg highway, and percentage of total for the top six automakers. Click to enlarge. Source: Green Car Congress]

When you look at percentage of sales, rather than absolute numbers, Honda takes the top spot for most fuel efficient auto manufacturer, with 45.5% of its 2007 models offered delivering 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway.

On a percentage basis, GM ranks third behind both Honda and Toyota, but ahead of Ford, Chrysler and Nissan.

[Chart from Green Car Congress]

So, who get's the bragging rights? Well, I'm sure both GM and Honda will go ahead and claim them, but it's kind of up to you. Which do you value more: more vehicles on the road, or a higher percentage of that manufacturers sales?

In my opinion, if you sell a ton of Chevy Silveradoes along with your little Chevy Aveos, you really had better not be touting your commitment to selling 'green machines.' A percentage-based metric seems like a better gague of who's more committed to selling efficient vehicles, and that title goes to Honda.

Any thoughts?

Resources:

  • 2007 EPA Fuel Economy Datafile (zipped .xls)

  • 2007 Fuel Economy Guide

  • EPA Fuel Economy website

  • 1 comment:

    Tom Konrad said...

    The best "green" metric for automakers would probably be the average economy of vehicles sold, not just a 30+ mpg cutoff. An automaker with one vehicle that got 29 mpg might be considered fairly green, but would be at the bottom of either of these rankings.