Prius isn't the highest-mpg hybrid in 2017!


For many years, the Toyota Prius was the hybrid with the best mpg - but in 2017 that's changing! Let's examine the data ...

For analyses like this, I have found the website to be a wonderful source of information. In recent years, they've even made all their data available in a csv file that's easy to download! I wrote some SAS code to import their csv, and then I was off to the races (figuratively) to create some graphs.

In the 2016 data, the Prius Eco was the vehicle sold in the U.S. with the best mpg (53.3 hwy / 57.8 city)

In the 2017 data, the Prius Eco is still up there at the top of the midsize cars graph. And the Prius c is at the top of the compact cars graph.



But there's a new vehicle coming onto the market in 2017 that gets better mpg than all the Prius models ... and surprisingly this vehicle is in the "large cars" category! It's the Hyundai Ioniq Blue, which should start selling sometime early this year (2017). Its EPA ratings are 59.4 mpg highway and 56.5 mpg city!


Will the Ioniq hybrid really get that many mpg when people start driving it? - Time will tell! As you might recall, when the C-Max hybrid first came out in 2012, Ford claimed EPA mpg numbers that beat the Prius, but later had to revise them to lower-than-Prius levels.

And now for a bit of car-related fun ... Two of my co-workers, Mary & Thelma, have a dad who restores and customizes Corvettes. I've seen his work, and he puts out some truly spectacular cars. Here's a picture of an example they loaned me for my blog - it's a 1975 Corvette (customized to be a station wagon, using the Greenwood kit) with a 454 cubic inch 8-cylinder engine. 454 cubic inches is over 7.4 liters - by comparison the Prius gasoline engines are 1.5 & 1.8 liters. They estimate this Corvette gets about 15 mpg ... but who really counts mpg on a hotrod Corvette, eh?!?



And here's a car my buddy Richard has owned for 30 years. It's a 1973 Plymouth Valiant, with a slant-6 motor and automatic transmission. The engine was converted to the 2 bbl Super Six intake system. The transmission is from a Volare station wagon, and it has a 245 rear differential from a Highway Patrol Dodge Dart. He claims he averaged 37 mpg from NC to IL and back.



So, what's the favorite vehicle you've owned, and what mpg did it get? :)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.

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  1. Brian,

    They have done studies on the Prius environmental impact. After a mere 20k miles the Prius completely offsets the added pollution of the battery manufacture and shipping, and from then on it has a significantly less impact than any other car on the road.

    The longer you drive it the wider the gap is.

  2. At the time all my friends had Cameros, Novas,and pickup trucks. I got my first car in 1978. It is a hot rod Oldsmobile, beat of different drummer I guess. I still have it. I'd post a pic but I'm not sure I can here. It has 76,000 mile on it now. You have another co-worker over in EP that restores old cars, mostly Vettes. The only SAS/article suggestion I have is that it would be interesting to see what some graphs would look like on the carbon footprint of a Prius is and how it would compare to other vehicles such as the Vette shown or a Duramax diesel truck. The information might be interesting after factoring in mining the nickle for the batteries in Canada and shipping it to Japan to make the batteries. Always loved those wagon Vettes!

  3. Steve Bennett

    My first car in high school was a 1976 Ford Fairmont. I think the fuel economy was probably measured in "gallons per mile" instead of "miles per gallon"...

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