Hybrid Cars are Great, But Conventional Vehicles are Catching Up

The headline in the Washington Post almost says it all: “Conventional gas-powered cars starting to match hybrids in fuel efficiency.”

[W]hen fuel economy on a best-selling car is improved even incrementally, it can have much larger effects on the nation’s oil consumption than an alternative technology model that doesn’t sell well. Today, hybrid cars still represent only about 3 percent of U.S. car and truck sales. Electric plug-in vehicles from the major automakers just went on sale recently.

“When you take some of the most popular vehicles in the U.S. – say, the Ford F-150 pickup – and improve them by just a few mpg, the effects can add up very quickly,” said John DeCicco, a faculty fellow at the University of Michigan’s Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute. “Much more so than with a niche car.”