A couple of Friday articles of interest:
From More new cars get 40 mpg, but 'cheap' gas keeps buyers away by Chris Woodyard at USA Today:
Automakers are offering more conventional cars that cross the 40-miles-per-gallon threshold in highway driving, but relatively low gas prices continue to hold off buyers.
"When gas is cheap, no one is going to be rushing out to buy a small car," says Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer for Consumer Reports.But automakers are keenly aware of how many were caught short in 2008 when gas prices shot up to a $4.14 per gallon peak in July, so they are adding 40-mpg cars as a hedge.
Two interesting tidbits (my italics):
In past years, few models were able to get a 40-mpg rating without using more expensive hybrid or diesel technology. Now automakers are starting to show they can hit that mark with improved conventional gasoline powertrains for a smaller price premium — or none.
"We found that 40 (mpg) is the new 30. Everyone wants great fuel mileage," Chevrolet spokeswoman Lesley Hettinger says.