40 MPG is the new badge of honor for automakers

Automakers just can't stop the chest thumping over cars that get 40 miles per gallon or more.

Automakers just can't stop the chest thumping over cars that get 40 miles per gallon or more.

Hyundai on Thursday trumpeted how it sold its 100,000 vehicle with more than 40 mpg on the highway. In fact, 40 percent of Hyundai's sales in June went to cars with more than 40 mpg. Three models---Elantra, Sonata Hybrid and Accent---account for most of the 40 mpg gains.

Hyundai is aiming to have four cars with 40 mpg by the fall.

Not to be outdone, Ford is also touting the 40 mpg benchmark. It has "40 mpg by 3" with its Focus, Fusion and Fiesta---not to mention some serious alliteration.

GM is also hitting the 40 mpg drum, but not as much. The Cruze Eco gets 42 mpg and GM sticks to the broader fuel efficient theme. Pick your automaker and you're likely to find a fuel efficiency or 40 mpg pitch.

Consumer Reports recently noted that 40 is the new 30 when it comes to miles per gallon. Consumer Reports also concluded that the extra premium for 40 mpg cars wasn't worth the effort. Also see CNET's green car buying guide.

Will consumers care? It depends. As gas prices stay high, 40 mpg will matter. It's unclear whether the 40 mpg mark will matter compared to a car that gets 32 mpg.

For fleet sales, 40 mpg may matter. If you rent a car mileage is everything to you if you're trying to save a few pennies.

The overarching theme here is what Boston Consulting Group touched on in its recent report---automakers can hit their emissions targets by tweaking the gas engine instead of going all electric vehicles all the time.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com


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