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Chrysler anchors mpg ratings

by David Zatz on

From being the most fuel efficient American automaker in the 1980s, Chrysler is now the least fuel-efficient major automaker selling in the US, due largely and ironically to high customer demand for its popular Jeep SUVs and Ram trucks.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual report put Chrysler at the bottom of major sellers, though not by a large margin. The top maker, Mazda, does not have vehicles in the worst-mileage categories (full-size pickups, true off-road SUVs, etc). Volkswagen and Toyota, generally thought of as “high-mileage” by consumers, were #5 and #7, respectively, with BMW sliding in between them, thanks partly to Mini.  Ford was the top American manufacturer, though it came in below all imports except Daimler (which sells both Mercedes and Smart cars).

Nissan, Subaru, and BMW have made the largest gains, with 2 mpg increases. Toyota and GM have had the smallest increases, of 0.2 and 0.3 mpg over two model years.

Chrysler is working on increasing fuel economy with diesel pickup production rising, hybrid minivans coming within a year, a new line of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, stop-start technology, reduced-weight Wranglers, greater use of eight and nine speed transmissions, and other measures.  While the company has been trying to make its cars more compelling, customers’ preference for its heavier vehicles has kept it from increasing gas mileage more, despite achieving higher EPA ratings on specific vehicles and having the most fuel-efficient full-sized pickup.

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