In 2004 gas prices in America were seemingly going through the roof and suddenly predictions of $3/gallon of fuel were surfacing. War and continuing instability in oil-rich regions of the Middle East had contributed to these rates, but so did population growth, decreasing average fuel economy (mainly due to the popularity of SUVs), and increasingly prosperous and energy-hungry countries such as China. Urban sprawl and the corresponding increased commute times had also added to the U.S.’s need for fuel.
In Europe, however, the picture was a little different: roadways are more narrow and parking more scarce. Gasoline taxes are high to encourage conservation, and Europeans seem far more content than their American counterparts to own less cars, smaller cars, and more frugal cars. And why wouldn’t they? The landscapes are dotted with numerous stylish, charismatic offerings (mostly space-efficient 3- and 5-door hatchbacks instead of the largish sedans, minivans and SUVs found stateside) which are delightful to look at and a hoot to drive.
It was in these visits to Europe which inspired hi-mpg.org. We came to realize that some of the hottest cars did not have to be burdensome on the gas pump, your wallet, and the environment. We came to wish that American roads were more filled with engaging, sporting machines instead of “moving billboards stuck on cruise control” that one cannot see over, cannot round a corner, take forever to wash, and suck all the dino-juice they can readily obtain.
Fortunately, America is a nation of choices. Despite the number of high-profit trucks, minivans, and SUVs seen on the road, a number of desirable, even downright sexy, smaller-car and fuel-efficient offerings are available. And so we wanted to share those offerings with you. We dub them Hot Green Machines.
Hot Green Machines are vehicles that people look at and say “wow, I want to drive that!” Hot Green Machines also happen to be unapologetically fuel efficient. They meet hi-mpg.org’s (admittedly arbitrary) standard of at least 30 mpg on the highway. Ok, we also allow for some 29 mpg vehicles. What we don’t allow are the ho-hum: Geo Metros, Kia Sephias, etc.
Fuel efficient does not necessarily mean slow and poor performing. Indeed, efficiency (as in space efficient, material efficient, power efficient) often translates into higherperformance. Witness the sublime Caterham Super Seven, Chevrolet Corvette, and Porsche Boxster. These are all supercars in their own right, and yet they are benign at the pump! The other offerings on this site are also fun. Some are more practical, some are less expensive… but they are all hot.
We hope you enjoy this site as much as we have to create it. Think small, think big, think hi-mpg. Happy motoring.