New Rating System: Most Performance For Least Fuel Use

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2011 Chevrolet Volt drive test, March 2011

2011 Chevrolet Volt drive test, March 2011

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Many people buy cars because they deliver good gas mileage, with the EPA as an impartial arbiter of fuel efficiency ratings.

Many other people buy cars because they're fast and fun to drive, with acceleration times and cornering forces delivered by many auto-media outlets.

But what if a buyer wants both?

How can someone learn which cars offer the best blend of efficiency and performance?

The Raceway in Sonoma wants to help.

It is testing a new rating scale that gives vehicles a single rating based on both their fuel efficiency and greenhouse-gas emissions and their horsepower and torque.

Developed with Dominican University, the rating scale--which is still very much in development--was the topic of a panel discussion held at the Raceway last week.

The first cut at the ratings will be posted online at the track's Accelerating Sustainable Performance website.

But as SFgate.com reports, the Chevrolet Volt topped the hatchback and wagon category, and the Ford Mustang unexpectedly beat the Toyota Camry Hybrid in the sedans and coupes ranking.

The ranking's creators are putting more work into it, and may add exhaust-gas emissions (CO, HC, NOx) to the greenhouse-gas emissions it now uses, as well as further performance data like braking distance.

It might also attempt to wrap in safety ratings for each vehicle.

But for the moment, we simply applaud the effort to provide a rating that we might call the "Most Fun Miles Per Gallon" or something like that.

What would you call this rating?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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