The Chevrolet Corvette is a relatively lightweight sports car, as modern sports cars go. That, coupled with a torquey and under-stressed engine makes for a surprisingly fuel-efficient vehicle, as many Corvette fans will likely tell you. Unfortunately, that efficiency is taking a dip, at least on the highway, according to a report published Thursday by Autoblog.
The problem with the Corvette's fuel economy is a surprising one, and it's one that has been wrought by Corvette buyers themselves. Buyers of Corvettes have been going nuts for the Z51 package that adds several performance-enhancing goodies, one of which is a shorter final drive. The benefits of that come in the form of increased acceleration, but the efficiency drops because you're spinning the engine faster to achieve a given road speed.
Because the EPA calculates its average fuel economy based partly on sales volume, it has changed its official listing for the 2022 Corvette to reflect the popularity of the Z51 package. This results in a drop of 3 mpg from the highway mileage. The Corvette received some modifications for 2022, like an improved direct fuel injection system that nets a 1-mpg improvement in the city.
"The EPA fuel economy numbers are based on which package is most popular. For 2021, Corvette Stingrays equipped with Z51 accounted for nearly 70 percent of Corvettes sold, because our customers are looking for the highest level of performance," said Trevor Thompkins, a representative for GM, in a statement. "Due to the success of the Z51 package, we will be reporting model year 2022 EPA fuel economy numbers based on the Z51-equipped Corvette Stingray's results - 16 city, 24 highway and 19 combined."