As the holiday road trip season approaches and more workers are headed back to offices and daily commutes, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has released the federal government’s new 2022 Fuel Economy Guide. The report provides the latest fuel efficiency stats and money-saving tips for new and used vehicles.
For the first time, two electric vehicles with a 500-mile driving range sit at the top of the guide’s 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles.
The top 10 “fuel sippers” among 2022 models in the new guide are all-electric vehicles boasting a minimum of 111 miles per gallon-equivalent fuel economy. The guide is part of the fueleconomy.gov site, maintained by ORNL for the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
With more electric vehicles on the market than ever, the fueleconomy.gov site has new features this year to help shoppers pick the best EV for their needs and budget. One new tool lets consumers look at the upstream emissions related to their vehicles by zip code. This feature allows users to see how the methods for electricity generation in their area affect their total greenhouse gas emissions. Another tool allows EV owners to track their fuel efficiency in either kilowatt-hours or miles per gallon equivalents.
The fueleconomy.gov site is DOE’s most-visited, attracting more than 30 million user sessions in Model Year 2021 – more than any year since 2015. The site provides consumers with information to help guide buying decisions for all types of vehicles, including current EV federal tax credits, as well as operation and maintenance tips to save drivers money. Consumers can personalize estimates for their annual miles and local fuel prices, for instance.
The fuel economy sticker on new car windows includes the same data as in the Fuel Economy Guide, and the sticker’s QR code will bring up that specific vehicle with additional information from the website. ORNL researchers are also working on launching phone apps for fueleconomy.gov.
Interest in EVs is clearly increasing as more models come on the market. In fact, of the top 50 vehicles searched on fueleconomy.gov in fiscal year 2021, 44 were hybrids or all-electric.
But fuel economy for many conventional gasoline-fueled vehicles also continues to rise, according to Stacy Davis, who leads the fueleconomy.gov and Fuel Economy Guide projects at ORNL. Four of the models on the guide’s “best in class” list of cars by size are conventionally fueled.
Gone are the days when consumers who wanted the most fuel-efficient vehicle were urged to drive the smallest cars available, Davis said. Today, with advanced engines and drivetrains, customers can use the guide to input the car size that best fits their needs, and fueleconomy.gov will provide a comparable list of vehicles and their fuel efficiency ratings to help guide decisions.
“I think that as our choices for vehicle types increase, especially with new electric drivetrains, it’s more important than ever to understand the specifications of the vehicles that you have the option to purchase,” Davis said.