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GM pledges more hybrids and better MPG by 2017

The 2013 Sonic is the "middle child" of

The 2013 Sonic is the "middle child" of Chevrolet's three smallest cars — Spark, Sonic and Cruze. Credit: AP / General Motors

GM's latest Sustainability Report pledges to improve gas mileage across the automaker's U.S. lineup 18% by 2016, reduce corporate energy use and propagate landfill-free facilities. GM also aims to double its number of cars that achieve an EPA highway rating of 40 mpg or better by 2017.

Today, GM has four: the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Sonic, Volt and Spark EV. With the forthcoming Cadillac ELR and Chevy Cruze Diesel, the automaker needs two more to reach eight.

GM also plans to put half a million hybrids and plug-ins on the road by 2017. That's a goal that seems attainable. The Detroit News notes that GM said in November 2012 it already had 179,801 hybrids and plug-ins on the road. That's a small but established share of the market: Since 2007, right about when GM entered the hybrid race, U.S. shoppers have bought 2.3 million hybrids and plug-ins from all automakers, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association.

For an automaker that builds everything from compacts to pickup trucks, GM already has competitive mileage. The automaker's 2013 corporate average fuel economy numbers — an unadjusted comparison for corporate performance, not a composite of EPA mileage you see on window stickers — ranged from 23.6 mpg for its light-duty trucks (pickups, SUVs, etc.) to 33.6 and 39.5 mpg for its domestic and imported cars. Ford, by comparison, ranks 24.7, 32.8 and 32.3 mpg for those three respective groups; Toyota rates 26.4, 33.9 and 34.3 mpg.

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