More fuel efficient powertrains including turbo diesels, wide and tall ratio transmissions, high tech valve trains, lower friction from tires to pistons, and electrification leads the way. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2014_Mazda6_Profile.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 19, 2012 2014 Mazda6 with the 2.2L SKYACTIV-D – Pricing TBA and Fuel Economy? How much you want to bet that this 182 HP and 294 lb-ft. of torque monster still pulls greater than 42 mpgUS highway from our own EPA? The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that North American consumers will be the big winners in 2013 as a result of strong growth in sales of electric and hybrid cars ... a wide range of available fuel-efficient midsize vehicles and pickups … lower prices for a number of the vehicles with the highest MPG ratings ... and a greater emphasis on diesel-powered vehicles and affordable new tech. In addition, the auto industry will remain on track to meet higher federal fuel efficiency standards. Luke Tonachel , Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Senior Vehicles Analyst: Key trends for 2013 include the following: BEV sales will double in the coming year and hybrid sales are set to jump by a 25%. The 2013 and 2014 Honda Accord will soon be offered as both an HEV and PHEV respectively. The 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid is just now reaching the consumer albeit at a higher price than expected. VW’s brand new Jetta Hybrid pulls 60 mpgUS or better without breaking a sweat! The 2013 Fusion hybrid is currently on sale with the PHEV Fusion Energi scheduled for early next year. The 13 Fusion Energi PHEV-21 is destined to be one of the best looking PHEVs soon available. The 2013/2014 Nissan Altima will also reappear as a hybrid next year and you know we already really like the base Altima with its 38 mpgUS highway rating! The 2013 Nissan Altima is currently being sold with heavy incentives and is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid/non-diesel midsize currently available. In addition, LEAF sales should increase with lower prices as TN production begins in earnest. A lone LEAF plugged into a Level2 charging station in downtown LA. According to the NRDC, at least six new HEVs and eight PHEVs and BEVs will appear in 2013. While many of these initially will be offered in modest volumes, the sales of PHEV/BEVs will more than double with hybrid vehicle sales expected to rise by at least 25 percent. Those are big numbers and we’ll see soon enough. All-new fuel efficient midsize sedans, crossovers and pickups will add to the trend. The all-new Ram 1500 we drove earlier in the week proved that out! 2013 RAM 1500 HFE: 35 + mpgUS near its highway maximums, 45 + mpgUS near its in town maximums and 25 mpgUS is as easy as simply driving it. And while Chevrolet and GMC announced new drivetrains using the same displacements for their 2014’s, the promise of much higher fuel efficiency has been announced. Rising demand and increased production means lower prices for consumers as VOLT and LEAF lease deals are in many cases a steal, a lot of $’s is currently being placed on the hood of the RAV4 EV and huge discounts are available on the mid-size Altima. Even a refined Stop/Start system is available on the higher end 2013 Ford Fusions as a $295 option. Diesel Diesel engines are coming to the Chevy Cruze (probably the 2.0L) and 2014 Mazda6 (2.2L SKYACTIV-D) this spring and summer while Volkswagen continues to pound out hit after hit while equipping their entire model lineup with the world record breaking 2.0L TDI. 2014 Mazda6 with the 2.2L SKYACTIV-D is going to be fast, agile and unbelievably fuel efficient. The industry is likely to remain on track to meet higher federal 2016 fuel economy standards regardless of the price at the pump. In 2011 and 2012, the average new vehicle in the US saw its fuel economy rise by 0.5 and 1 mpgUS respectively. The federal standards require somewhat less than 1 mile per gallon improvement for Model Year 2013 and 2014 and the manufacturers are tacking these thresholds head on and exceeding them quite easily by all appearances. There is not a car or truck listed above that should not be a consideration for your hard earned $’s this coming year and this is only just the beginning!