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GM Boosts 2014 Malibu Fuel Efficiency at Low Cost

Roland Hwang

Posted August 29, 2013 in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Turns out big boosts in fuel economy at low cost are possible after all. For just a $160 price increase, GM is boosting the fuel economy of its 2014 midsize car, the Chevy Malibu, by 12%.  At 29 mpg, this 3 mpg jump from the 2013 model vaults the Malibu into the fuel economy pole position in the highly competitive mid-size segment.

Importantly, consumer pocketbooks stand to benefit. Compared to the 2013 Malibu, the new fuel-sipping technology will pay for itself in just 9 months. Over the life of the vehicle, a 2014 Malibu driver will save $2,000 compared to 2013 Malibu driver.

2014-Chevrolet-MalibuStartStop-medium.png

Despite being recently redone, 2013 Malibu sales have been lagging. In the old days, GM probably would have chosen to boost HP, rather than MPG. GM’s decision to boost MPG clearly shows the auto industry itself recognizes how much today’s customers care about fuel-efficiency.

Importantly, this move is not merely a marketing gimmick. GM is not just boosting the fuel efficiency for a small volume “eco” version of the Malibu. It’s adding the technology across the heart of its Malibu lineup, the base 2.5L four-cylinder engine.

GM will use three critical technologies to boost MPG: stop/start system, the first of its kind in a midsize sedan sold in the U.S.; a valve-actuation technology known as Intake Valve Lift Control which essentially better optimizes the engine valve operations; and a new 6-speed transmission that saves fuel by reducing the energy required to pump transmission fluid.

This substantial, low-cost gain in fuel economy demonstrates the tremendous innovation occurring in the auto industry, unleashed by high gas prices and increased fuel economy standards.  Greater innovation means a healthier, more competitive auto industry.

Higher MPG = more jobs, more money saved, and less pollution. The equation is simple.

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Comments

AlexAug 29 2013 09:17 PM

Nothing about the new Corvette? Oh, right, it has a big honking V8, those are evil and must be eliminated.

Roland HwangAug 29 2013 09:38 PM

Thanks for raising the 2014 Corvette issue. Great car. As you are probably aware, Chevy is also making the Corvette more fuel efficient for 2014. In fact, according to Chevy, it's new Vette is "the most efficient sports car packing more than 400 horsepower." The 2014 Corvette’s 17 mpg city and 29 mpg highway fuel-economy figures beats the 400-hp Porsche 911 Carrera S and 495-hp Jaguar F-type V-8 S. The 2013 model is rated for 16 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Additionally, 2014 Corvette drivers will be even able to get up to 30 mpg when they select “Eco” mode which enable it's cylinder-deactivation feature that cuts fuel delivery to four of the engine’s eight cylinders. So with higher fuel economy and enhanced power, the 2014 Corvette has something for everybody!

Earl RichardsAug 30 2013 03:09 AM

Plug your Tesla S, electric car into your household, solar array.

AlexAug 30 2013 12:38 PM

Nobody buys a Corvette for the fuel economy, sir. They buy it to go fast.

MPGomatic Sep 1 2013 06:28 PM

Roland -

Inexpensive gas mileage improvement efforts must not be confined to brand new vehicles. My goal is to improve the fuel efficiency of 50% percent of the older vehicles on American roads by an average of 10%.

We can achieve an immediate reduction in carbon emissions by practicing 'mindful maintenance' using state-of-the-art products on older vehicles. Low rolling resistance tires, synthetic fluids, OBDII driver feedback devices, and modest aerodynamic improvements can all easily be retrofitted to tens upon tens of millions of vehicles. This is proven technology, not snake oil.

It will happen car-by-car, SUV-by-SUV, truck-by-truck. In garages all across this great country.

I've completed testing on my first vehicle (a 2010 Sonata, supplied by Hyundai) and I'm currently working with a 2004 F-150 that has 200K on the clock. I need to ramp up the effort. The first modest round of funding came via a Kickstarter campaign. We need a small warchest to really get this rolling.

NRDC needs to get on board …

All the Best,
Dan

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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