TrueCar Inc, an online automotive information platform, has released a study that concludes that the extra money spent for premium fuel economy options, such as those offered on the Chevrolet Cruze ECO, are a waste of resources.
The 2012 Cruze ECO has an $850 price premium over its non-ECO counterpart and returns only a 0.3mpg fuel economy boost. At today’s gasoline prices, it would take 48 years for the price difference to be made up at a standard 12,000 miles per year. DOH!
Other cars, like the Ford Fiesta SE with SFE fared no better. This “Super Fuel Economy” option has about the same boost as the ECO (0.3mpg) at a price premium of $600, though you do get some other aesthetic upgrades for that extra cash layout.
On the other side of the equation, however, the Mazda3 Touring with SkyActiv is actually cheaper than it’s non-SkyActiv counterpart, providing obvious value for the upgrade. The Chevrolet Sonic has a smaller price premium than the Cruze for its ECO option and takes only 3 years to give payback.
Even the Ford F-150 pickup with EcoBoost has less than five years to pay back its price premium at current gasoline costs. That’s not bad for a pickup that gets several miles per gallon better in the bargain.
Lesson learned: marketing terms like “ECO” and “fuel efficient” aren’t necessarily truth. Look before you leap.