5 Worst Automakers for Gas Mileage and Emissions

Source: Mazda

The annual report on fuel economy and auto emissions from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had its share of good and bad news at the close of 2015.

Among the positives, the average mile-per-gallon quotes from automakers did not get worse since last check despite the increase in truck and SUV sales. Likewise, most car companies improved the fuel economy of their fleets while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) vehicles release into the air for every mile of operation.

As for the bad news, average economy showed no improvement among major automakers, and that includes the new releases of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that debuted on the U.S. market. Clearly, the run on larger vehicles with cheap gas flowing has had its impact.

Congratulations to Mazda for placing first in overall fleet economy once again with an average of 29.4 miles per gallon and 302 grams of CO2 per mi (g/mi). That was 8.6 miles per gallon better than the worst emissions offender, and over 100 g/mi less in emissions per mile. At the bottom end of the list, U.S. automakers clearly need better solutions with pickup sales remaining strong. As China has shown, there is a level of air quality no one can tolerate when emissions go unchecked.

Here are the five worst automakers in terms of total fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The EPA data covers all vehicles through the 2014 model year and is final.

5. Toyota

Andrew Ganz/Autos Cheat Sheet

How does the leading producer of hybrid vehicles rank in the bottom five among world automakers? Meet the Toyota Tacoma (19 miles per gallon city) and Tundra (15 mile per gallon city), then check in on the Sequoia and Land Cruiser, both of which manage 13 miles per gallon in urban driving. At 25.6 miles per gallon in 2014, Toyota barely improved upon its numbers from the year before. Looking head, these big vehicle releases and the disappearance of the Prius plug-in project a decrease in fuel economy for next year’s report.

4. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-AMG SL, R 231, 2015
Source: Mercedes

The EPA noted how power specs are trending higher while vehicle weights remain roughly the same across the board. In the case of a luxury and performance automaker like Mercedes-Benz, the science is in these details. There are no pickup trucks weighing down the economy quotes, but behemoths like the S600 and AMG rockets are enough to torch any fleet figures. Even with an improvement of nearly a full mile, Mercedes checked in with 23.2 miles per gallon. Next year, the German luxury brand will make a slight improvement.

3. Ford Motor Company

Source: Ford

Can you have a pickup truck outselling every vehicle in America and still post competitive fuel economy? The answer remains no, but Ford did increase its total figures by 0.5 miles per gallon in the latest check. That left the automaker at 22.8 miles per gallon overall with more improvements expected for the next model year. In fact, once the aluminum F-150 enters the EPA’s calculations, Ford will have its pickup compliant through 2019, with the EcoBoost model now meeting 2025 standards. Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s office of transport and air quality, told AutoBlog Green the new F-150 was an “amazing story of innovation” on the regulation front.

2. General Motors

Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet
Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Like Ford, General Motors grapples with fuel economy issues as it continues selling pickup trucks like hotcakes. Since 2014, GM increased its fuel economy to 22.8 miles per gallon overall, matching Ford on that count. However, its 390 g/mi CO2 made it the runner-up for worst fuel economy in America. Unfortunately for the General, the next count will be worse: EPA officials estimate emissions will jump to 406 g/mi while economy drops to 21.9 miles per gallon in 2016. That will leave GM brands struggling to avoid the label of least economical automaker. We imagine the re-introduction of the Chevy Colorado is behind this trend.

1. Fiat-Chrysler

2016 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track
Source: FCA

The company known for Ram trucks, Jeep, and performance models by Dodge is every bit as bad about fuel economy as you would guess. Fiat-Chrysler once again clocked in as the worst offender on total economy (20.8 miles per gallon) and CO2 emissions (428 g/mi), and those numbers actually got worse since the EPA’s last count in 2014. Without a hybrid or EV (excepting one compliance car), what do you expect? On the bright side, FCA is expected to make improvements once the full 2015 model-year data is computed. By December 2016, you may even see the automaker challenging GM for second-worst offender in economy and emissions.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Check out Autos Cheat Sheet on Facebook and Tumblr
Follow Eric on Twitter @EricSchaalNY