Chevy Cruze Eco: Obama's 50mpg Gas-Engine Car, Or Not?
President Obama raised a few eyebrows last week when he claimed during his major policy speech, "There are even cars rolling off assembly lines in Detroit with combustion engines that can get more than 50 miles per gallon."
Upon hearing the president's claims, car enthusiasts and eco-experts were stumped, wondering just what car was he talking about exactly. According to the government's official ratings, the internal combustion car (any non-hybrid car) that comes closest to 50 mpg on the highway is the Chevorlet Cruze with a special, extra-cost Eco package and a manual transmission; however, the Cruze Eco only ranks in at 42 mpg--not quite "more than" 50 mpg.
Some of the folks at USA Today were also befuddled by the president's claims and decided to contact the White House. According to a spokesperson, the president was in fact referring the the Chevy Cruze Eco but not according to the government's official ratings; rather, President Obama was citing claims of 50 mpg under ideal conditions according to information they acquired from, of all reputable sources, the internet.
The non-Eco Chevy Cruze is priced at $17,725; however, the Chevy Cruze Eco will cost drivers an extra $1,450. And these prices are after the recent $280 increase. Nonetheless, of all Cruze sales, the Eco only accounts for about 20 percent.
"To illustrate the importance of increased efficiency and the power of American innovation," said Spokesman Clark Stevens, "the president cited the public reports of conventional gasoline cars that can reportedly achieve 50 mpg. The president remains focused on increasing fuel efficiency to save American families money at the pump and generate American jobs."
I have no beef with Obama, but how exactly will projecting unrealistic expectations save American families money? According to James R. Healey of USA Today, "The only mpg ratings the government recognizes are from precise testing by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those are the numbers on the window stickers of all new cars."
To validate the 50 mpg claim, however, the White House cited a story presented by the Washington Post last month. The author of the story contended that the Cruze Eco "can achieve more than 50 mpg under the right conditions, reviewers say." However, no such "reviewers" were named.
The "internet" source that the White House was referring to was from ConceivablyTech.com, which claims of the Cruze Eco, "Rush hour driving with permanent stop and go gave us 32.3 mpg and suburban driving with a mix of streets ended up at 39.8 mpg. Extremely careful cruising on the Interstate at exactly 55 mph resulted in a stunning 57.9 mpg." I don't know too many places in Washington D.C. where cars exhibit "extremely careful cruising" at precisely 55 mpg. When all is said and done, the claim is more than a bit exaggerated. Furthermore, the claim of 50 mpg is not aligned with the government's own ratings.
Source: USA Today