My Pontiac Firefly / Chevrolet Metro / Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift welcomes fuel efficiency nerds everywhere

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Latest fuel economy stats
for my '98 Firefly 1.0L 5-speed
  best: 2.3 125.1 104.2
 worst: 6.4  44.1  36.8
prev.3: 3.3  82.3  68.6
   all: 3.8  73.4  61.1
L/100km | mpg IMP | mpg US
Jul 28/07: more, graph, calc.
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Best non-hybrid MPG: Mitsubishi Mirage
Highest MPG for a new car: Mitsubishi Mirage?
Mitsubishi's 1.2L, 3-cylinder Mirage is the first new non-hybrid car that can match an old Metro's mileage. The company says 44 mpg (US) highway, 37 city. (Some drivers are already beating that in various economy driving contests.) How? An efficient engine, very light weight and aerodynamic design.

Cheapest to own? 2015 Nissan Micra Forum
2015 Nissan Micra Forum
The Micra's fuel economy isn't its most notable feature -- the $10,000 price is. That makes it one of the cheapest cars to own. And its 109hp, 1.6L engine and good power-to-weight ratio means it's fun to drive too.

Latest 10 posts:
1. Recipe for getting 99.7 mpg from a Geo Metro
2. - famous aerodynamic Honda Civic gets a web site
3. Snapshot: effect of tire pressure on rolling resistance
4. 65+ vehicle modifications for better MPG
5. Metro mania: forget stocks, put your money in old Geos!
6. 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips for better gas mileage
7. Experiment: how long should a block heater be plugged in?
8. Everything old is new again: Car and Driver magazine modifies an econobox to improve MPG
9. Project Convertible XFi: alfresco efficiency
10. The floor is yours: MetroMPG opens a fuel efficiency forum
11 ... 64. Show all posts

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Good MPG forums: I spend a lot of time at and have also been known to lurk around

Chevrolet Aveo forum - discussion of the Chevrolet Aveo and its siblings (Pontiac Wave, Pontiac G3, Suzuki Swift+, Daewoo Kalos).

> Lots more Metro links...
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Send me a note:
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
or here

MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to
ScanGauge fuel economy computer Save fuel with a ScanGauge II fuel economy computer.
I personally recommend this tool. I've owned both versions (I and II) and can't say enough good things about it. If you're serious about saving fuel, get one.

For more information and to order, visit EcoModder. - famous aerodynamic Honda Civic gets a web site

Posted Tuesday, February 10/09 in General

Aerocivic teaser

This winter, EcoModder member Mike Turner was looking for a way to give the motoring public more information about his 1992 Honda Civic CX, which he has extensively modified to improve aerodynamics and reduce fuel consumption. Initially, he posted the car's "stats" directly on its flank: coefficient of drag (0.17 est.), fuel economy (70 mpg US average), higher top speed (140 mph estimated), etc.

Well, you've probably heard of the term "unintended consequences" ... and if Mike hadn't before, he definitely knows it now! The writing on the car resulted in enough additional rubbernecking to cause traffic problems, making lane changes difficult for him, and causing cars in the passing lane to bunch up behind the gawkers/readers.

If ever there was a reason to stick a web address on a vehicle, this was it. So I offered to make Mike a web site so he could replace the stats on the side of the car with "". Now motorists who see the car have the opportunity to learn the details from the safety of their computer chairs, rather than while barrelling down the highway beside it.

Now even more world famous!

The car's vital statistics posted on its flank caused traffic problems.

In the first two weeks since the site was launched, it has received over 38,000 hits from over 19,000 visitors from around the world: United States, Turkey, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Austria, Poland, United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Norway, Romania, Israel, Hungary, France, Australia and Pakistan.

Its popularity is no surprise to me - the Aerocivic discussion thread at EcoModder has one of the highest view counts of the entire forum. People just LOVE to look at, mock, praise, and learn about this vehicle.

It's been linked from more blogs and discussion forums than you can imagine.

And just today, the site was popularized on, sending in a flood of thousands more viewers.

Common denominator ...

Phil Knox pickup
Phil Knox' famous Toyota pickup. See his other aeromodded vehicles.

Mike gives credit to Phil Knox as one of the influences that led him to undertake his streamlining project. He points to the same EV World article about Phil's aeromodded Toyota pickup truck that also sparked my interest in DIY aerodynamics.

As I mentioned in my first article about aero mods, Phil definitely deserves recognition for educating people about the importance of aerodynamics in efficiency. The Aerocivic can be counted as another success for Phil's efforts.

The evolution of Aerocivic ...

In addition to the photos on the Aerocivic site itself, Mike has a more extensive photo album that documents how the mods on the Civic progressed from mild to wild: from pizza pan wheel discs and partial rear fender skirts, to quick & easy prototypes of the boat tail, to a full aerofoil shaped arc on the hood/windshield (that ultimately didn't remain on the "production" version).

Aerocivic evolution

Why I like cars like this ...

  • One of the best things about cars like Mike's Aerocivic, Phil's famous pickup truck, Harry Stevenson's aeromodded Model T and the radically chopped tandem Metro is the balls to the wall, fearless approach their builders took. The result is major fuel economy improvements in all cases.
  • Aero Model T
    aerodynamic Ford Model T, chopped aero Metro XFi

  • I like how they clearly show how much fuel economy potential the established automakers are leaving on the table with their established styles.
  • I like how these cars raise the issue of "design vs. styling". Engineers design cars; marketers style cars. Guess whose efforts return better efficiency?
  • I like how each car challenges conventional notions of automotive aesthetics. I hope it causes the occasional person to question why they consider certain automotive designs appealing, and to think about whether they formed their opinions independently, or just adopted traditional views without any personal consideration.
  • And I really like how each of these vehicles motivates more backyard tinkerers to learn about aerodynamics and tackle similar projects on their own. Maybe one day the automakers will even take notice.

Aero Blackfly?

Am I going to mimic the Aerocivic?

Metro kammback and front skirt
Front fender skirt and finished Kammback - both fiberglass construction. Details to come this year.

You bet. My car continues to evolve, becoming more like Mike's... though obviously at a slower pace. Late last year ('08) I built an articulated front fender skirt and a permanent fiberglass Kammback (both of which I'll document here this year). My ultimate plan is to use the new Kammback as a mounting point for a removable boat tail for highway trips. More to come.

Resources ...

EcoModder fuel economy forum Note: MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to

darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here