Fuel Effiency Question

Why is it that the autos manufactured in the UK and Europe achieve better mileage than those in the US? Here is a like to above 50 mpg autos available in the UK. Vauxhall (a GM company) has several models in this
list.
http://www.zero.eu.org/car /
Is it gas quality? Emission standards? Other?
I did a quick google search and couldn't find a previous thread discussing this so thought I'd ask.
I was tempted to believe the engines weren't putting out the hp of US engines but after driving a Vauxhall Astra that dispelled that belief as it put any four cylinder car I've driven in the US to shame. (JMO)
Gary
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First off, those will be imperial gallons (4.54 L), not US gallons (3.78 L), so 50 miles per imperial gallon is only 41 miles per US gallon. Secondly, there are a fair number of diesels in there, which aren't available as much in the North American market, but we do have engines like the VW TDI that can get that kind of mileage. As well, the cars are generally a fair bit smaller and lighter, and the engines have correspondingly less displacement, largely owing to the fact that fuel consumption is much more important because of the high price of gas in Europe.
As well, the driving cycle being used to measure fuel economy isn't necessarily directly comparable with the EPA/Transport Canada driving cycles used to measure fuel economy in North America.
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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Robert Hancock wrote:

Thanks to those that have responded so far. I forgot the difference in volume measurements. I thought more about it and also realize that nearly all the driving is not too far above sea level which equates to better fuel combustion and most of the non-motorway driving is sub 55 mph.
Gary

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GeeDubb wrote:

Some more reasons - many of the extremely small cars over there just won't pass the safety tests in the states. I don't think they allow a small car to be "less safe" than a big car - which makes the really small cars a lot harder to do. Also, for some reason small must equal cheap. Price goes up per inch over here - so a small car that costs as much as a big one is a tough sell.
Ray
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Sky high taxes on motor fuels. Fuel at $5.00 or more per gallon effects what people can afford to drive.
Note that the highest fuel consumption automobiles in the world also come from Europe, where they are reserved for the wealthy. Ferraris, V12 MBZ, V12 BMWs, the Maybach, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati and more are all gas guzzlers of the first order. It isn't any moral superiority of Europeans which has the majority driving small fuel efficient cars, it is tax policy and economics.
John
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GeeDubb wrote:

accessories. I have an 88 4x4 S-10 that used to get almost 30mpg on long trips. Rubber floor lining, no A/C no cruise, no power windows, locks, etc 5 speed manual transmission. I'll bet if it had a nice little diesel and or was a 2wd I could have hit 35mpg.
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GeeDubb wrote:

Euro cars are half the size, half the weight, half the engine, and half the power of US cars. In short, half the car. And they don't have to go very far. In the distance that it takes me to drive from Houston, Texas to El Paso, Texas I could traverse Europe.
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UK gallons are slightly larger than US gallons, as someone else has noted. But even so, cars in Europe are typically much more fuel efficient than cars in the US.
People in Europe tend to value fuel efficiency more than people in the US do, due to high fuel prices. So smaller cars, manual transmissions, and diesel engines are popular there. Smaller cars are also easier to park in crowded old cities whose streets existed before cars.
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