UPDATE: My december, 2007 electric vehicle news roundup has info on reserving an Aptera for October 2008 or converting a Toyota Prius or other vehicle into a plug in hybrid now.
Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) current fuel economy procedure, the Prius, rated at 48 mpg–U.S. (4.9 L/100 km / 57.7 mpg–imp) in city driving, and 45 mpg–U.S. (5.23 L/100 km / 54 mpg–imp) on the highway, is the most economical car sold in the U.S. Under the EPA's old system the Prius achieved 60 mpg–U.S. (3.92 L/100 km / 72.1 mpg–imp) in city driving, and 51 mpg–U.S. (4.61 L/100 km / 61.3 mpg–imp) on the highway
The highest fuel efficient production car of 2009 will probably be the VW 1 liter car with 235 miles per US gallon Announcement of 2009 production
the Volkswagon 1 liter car, 0.99 litres per 100 kilometres
Volkswagon 1 liter with door open
More specifications are at supercar.net
The carbon-fibre-reinforced outer skin is tensioned over a spaceframe that is not made of aluminium, but rather of magnesium. The 1-litre car is powered by a one-cylinder diesel engine, centrally positioned in front of the rear axle and combined with an automated direct shift gearbox. The crankcase and cylinder head of the 0.3-litre engine are of an aluminium monobloc construction. The naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine employs advanced high-pressure unit injection technology to generate 6.3 kW (8.5 bhp) at 4,000 rpm. This gives the vehicle, which weights just 290 kg, an astonishingly lively temperament.
The interior is sportingly simple in design, yet offers enough space for two people, who can comfortably get in after folding back the turret-like gullwing door. An extremely lightweight construction has also been employed for the seats. The seat frames are made of magnesium, and firm, yet comfortable fabric covers are used instead of a classic upholstery.
Despite the lightweight construction of all components, safety has been a major element in all phases of the development of the 1-litre car. For example, the concept vehicle's safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, ESP electronic stability program and a driver's airbag. Deformation elements at the front end and the spaceframe construction provide impact and roll-over protection comparable to that of a GT racing car.
The highest mileage production cars now are
Volkswagon Lupo at 78 mpg.
Smart Fortwo, 69mpg for the diesel vs 50mpg for the regular gas
Mercedes-Benz new smart fortwo cdi – an 1800 pound, 106 inch long car with a top speed of 85 mph – gets nearly 80 mpg.
there are also Electric battery powered cars
Of the 200+ million cars in the USA, in 2004 there were 55,852 electric cars. There are about 300,000 Pruis hybrid cars.
Another potential high mileage car for 2009 is the Lorema diesel. This German car maker claims a fuel economy of 157 mpg. Weighing less than a thousand pounds, the sporty rear-wheel drive 4-seater is designed to be maximally aerodynamic. They also shooting for a price tag of about $13,000 (11,000 euros).
The 173mpg three wheeled Vespa
Cars with a little less mileage than the Prius but which are still darn cool
The 2008 50-55mpg four seat Honda Fit
With seats that fold all the way down it has 41 cubic feet of storage. As much as many SUVs when they still have the second row of seats up.
The 7 seat 47mpg minivan Estima only in Japan
These kind of cars could be part of relatively minor policy shifts which could halve the amount of gasoline that the USA uses for cars. Some peak oil people talk about using a highway lane for bicycles only. A good way to multiply highway deaths from 44,000/year to several times more. Allow european and japanese diesel cars into the USA. Seems like a less drastic step. We might even get people to shift over to these cars enmasse without draconian measures...just good marketing and $5-8+/gallon gas.
44% of Europe's cars are diesel and some tax code tweaks.
By 2020, half of the US cars could be 100mpg+ using hybrids, plug in hybrids, high mpg diesel and electric cars. Use financial measures to encourage scrapping, recycling and retiring vehicles sooner. Tax writoffs and favorable tax treatment to get people to recycle gas guzzlers and get them off the road. Allow accelerated depreciation. Financial measures and other incentives and maybe we can get to 70% could be 100mpg+ by 2020. Fuel usage could be more than halved for transportation.
If you drive 15000 miles per year, then here is a table of mpg and fuel costs per year:
20mpg 750gallons $2250@$3 $3750@$5 7500@$10 $15000@$20
30mpg 500gallons $1500@$3 $2500@$5 5000@$10 $10000@$20
50mpg 300gallons $ 900@$3 $1500@$5 3000@$10 $ 6000@$20
75mpg 200gallons $ 600@$3 $1000@$5 2000@$10 $ 4000@$20
100mpg 150gallons $ 450@$3 $ 750@$5 1500@$10 $ 3000@$20
150mpg 100gallons $ 300@$3 $ 500@$5 1000@$10 $ 2000@$20
250mpg 60gallons $ 180@$3 $ 300@$5 600@$10 $ 1200@$20
500mpg 30gallons $ 90@$3 $ 150@$5 300@$10 $ 600@$20
According to the American government's own figures, if diesel had a 33 per cent share of cars and pick-ups, the U.S. would reduce its oil consumption by up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.
Clean diesel tech should finally breakthrough US emission rules over the 2009-2011 timeframe depending upon manufacturer.
2009 Honda Accord Diesel 52mpg will be able to sell in the USA
The 2007 Toyota Camry is Manual: 24 mpg / 34 mpg
The potential 2 seater in 2009 would have 10 times the mileage.
MSRP $18,470 Invoice$16,898
So if you can afford a Camry then you could afford the 4 seater Lorema diesel in 2009 for 11000 euros. 157mpg
Wikipedia on fuel efficiency in transportation Even electric cars only have 260mpg or more with more average occupancy because of the use of fuel from the power plant.
NY Times article discussing the 100mpg Xprize for the first production 100mpg car
In 2004 a Peugeot 307 Touring HDi drove around Australia averaging 1,700 km per 60-liter tank. That’s 3.49 liters of fuel per 100 km, or 81.16 m.p.g.
VW Lupo 3L TDI, which we drove in 2001. Available from 1999 to 2005 in Europe, it was sold with a 78 m.p.g. average and capable of 99 m.p.g. in careful driving. And if you consider the mileage equivalent for electric or fuel cell vehicles, then the Telsa Roadster (135 m.p.g.) and ZAP Xebra (147 m.p.g.) already qualify.
This brings up an important point: although 100 m.p.g. is getting the media hype, the Auto X Prize is actually a race; 100 m.p.g. is just one of the criteria to qualify.
“We’ll hold a qualification race in 2009 and a final race in 2010,” Mr. Anderson said in a follow-up phone interview. “And the competitors with the best overall time in a real world stage that reflects consumer driving patterns (city, start, stop, idle, hill climb, distance — all those types of things) — the competitors that achieve our minimum requirements of 100 m.p.g., etc. with the best time — also highlighting performance — will win the top prize in each class.”
500mpg test car at MIT
Startup Aptera's 330mpg car
Aptera 330mpg car
Tesla motors electric car
China's Flybo and others are making electric cars
DIY self assembled plug in hybrid XR-3 kit car They claim it will be released in 2007.