The New Jeep Grand Wagoneer Has a Serious Fuel Economy Problem

FYI: 15 mpg should not be acceptable in 2021

A red 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer driving along. The new luxury SUV has horrible gas mileage, proving we need stricter fuel economy standards.
Sure, the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer looks new, but under the hood is ancient engineering.

This week, we got word that stricter U.S. fuel economy standards are in our future. While not officially announced yet, the Associated Press reports that the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation will start with a 3.7% increase in the mileage standard for 2023 model year vehicles, part of the Biden administration’s focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions — of which the transportation sector is the largest contributor in the country — and curbing climate change.

Surely this is something all Americans can agree on. Cars with better gas mileage? Paying less at the pump? Who doesn’t want that?!

And yet it’s a partisan issue, with one side of the aisle tending to side with the oil and gas industry over American drivers, and then there are the automakers themselves, many of whom have a history of putting profits over the survival of the human race. But no matter where you think you fall on this issue, there is in fact one incontrovertible truth, even in these polarized days: we need much stricter fuel economy rules.

Case in point: the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which gets an offensively low combined fuel economy rating of just 15 mpg.

In March, when wrote about the new Wagoneer SUV lineup, which Jeep is bringing back after a three-decade hiatus, we focused on the fact that the marque is pushing into the luxury segment. But as we noted, fuel economy numbers weren’t available at the time. The higher-priced Grand Wagoneer, which is only available with a 6.4-liter V8 engine (the regular Wagoneer includes a mild-hybrid system), has since been revealed to get only 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, according to EPA estimates. Not only does that put it lower than other bulbous, expensive SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, it puts it in the realm of Rolls-Royces and high-powered Ford Mustangs.

If that doesn’t offend you, consider this: before the Jeep Wagoneer name was discontinued back in the ‘90s, the final model was a Grand Wagoneer version of the 1993 Grand Cherokee. At that time, almost 30 years ago, that Grand Wagoneer had a fuel economy of 14 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Yes! A Grand Wagoneer made three decades ago had better gas mileage than one made in 2021! 

That alone shows an absolute failure on Jeep’s part, not simply in taking greenhouse gas emissions seriously, but in making 21st-century vehicles. Automakers have had the ability to make much more fuel-efficient vehicles for a long time, they just haven’t had a strong enough reason to actually follow through on it. With these new fuel economy standards, we need to finally give them that reason. 

And on a personal level, car owner to car owner, the next time you buy a new vehicle, maybe make sure you’re not buying one with ancient engineering.

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