I don't know if any of you have been car shopping lately, but I was shocked by the MPG ratings that I saw on the car Window Sticker (the price shocked me as well, but that is another story).
I went this past weekend to look for a new Civic 4 door automatic, thinking that the City/Hwy MPG would be somewhere in the range of 30/37, but the sticker noted that the mileage was 25 city/36 highway. I was a little disappointed to note that a small car, with a 140 hp engine could only manage 25 MPG in the city.
I went to the US DOE / US EPA website dedicated to fuel economy to learn more. It noted that an older MPG rating system used from 1985-2007 was revised on January 16, 2008. The new MPG rating system account for higher driving speeds and faster accelerations, air conditioning usage, and cold temperature operation. As such the new realistic MPG rating are lower then those noted for vehicles from previous years.
A quick comparison chart showed the following:
2007 Civic Sedan - Automatic - 30 city / 40 highway
2008 Civic Sedan - Automatic - 25 city / 36 highway
2007 Civic Sedan - Hybrid - 49 city / 51 highway
2008 Civic Sedan - Hybrid - 40 city / 45 highway
If you get a chance, you should check out the site. It provides a lot of useful energy realted information, which will be helpful with your car purchase.