Average fuel economy of U.S. vehicles no better than last year

The average fuel economy of 2006 model-year vehicles in the U.S. is a guzzle-rific 21 miles per gallon, the U.S. EPA announced yesterday — the same as in 2005. (And 1994. And 1982.) SUV fuel economy rose from 18.3 to 18.5 mpg from model year 2005 to 2006, a benefit canceled out by a passenger-car fuel-economy decline from 25 to 24.6 mpg. Honda had the highest average fuel-economy rating of automakers at 24.2 mpg; the American Big Three had some of the worst ratings, with General Motors at 20.5 mpg, Ford at 19.7 mpg, and DaimlerChrysler bottoming out at 19.1 mpg. The EPA said 2006 models were the heaviest, fastest, and most powerful vehicles evah. “The more things seem to change in the world in terms [of] gas prices and energy crises, the more things seem to stay the same in the auto industry,” said David Friedman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Toyota Prius hybrid, by the way, had an estimated fuel economy of 55.3 mpg. We’re just saying.