Cars with the Worst Gas Mileage

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The Bugatti Veyron costs more than two million dollars
  • The Aston Martin DB Line has a city mpg average of 11
  • The majority of Bentley cars get 18 mpg on the highway

Fuel economy is a major concern among car manufacturers.

But, apparently, some companies could not care less how much gas they burn. So we did a little research by contacting each car manufacturer’s VIPs to see what they had to say for themselves. The answers were quite interesting.

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The Top Three Cars With the Most Shocking MPG

Remember when The Who broke their guitars and called it “conspicuous consumption?”

It turns out that the new way to show you have offensive amounts of money is to buy and drive an offensively expensive car.

The three cars that take the cake are:

1. The Bugatti Veyron

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Cost: $2,400,000

Mileage: 8 City, 15 Highway

No, that’s not a typo. This sports car gets less than ten miles to the gallon.

2. The Aston Martin DB line

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Cost: At least $250,000

Mileage: 11 City, 17 Highway

With that mileage, you’ve got to wonder how James Bond ever escaped a speeding ticket (forget the legions of bad guys).

3. Anything Bentley Makes

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Cost: At least $300,000, but usually a lot more.

Mileage: 11 City, 18 Highway

So, with that information in our back pockets, we decided to make a few phone calls.

The Ins and Outs: Bugatti, Aston Martin, and Bentley

Aston Martin, as it happens, has the single worst publicity department we’ve run across.

Not only did we get stonewalled by the CEO, but the publicity department didn’t even call us back. We sent a few emails to their email addresses and didn’t even get a form letter in response.

So they’re not only wasting gas, they’re snobs. James Bond would be ashamed.

We had more luck with the other two. Bugatti is owned by Volkswagen, and interestingly, they also own Bentley. When we called the North American headquarters, we got this:

CIC: Hello, this is Car Insurance Comparison. May I speak to the highest authority in your building?
Receptionist: What is this concerning, sir?
CIC: I’m doing a piece on fuel efficiency and I’d like to discuss the Bugatti Veyron and Bentley line with him.
Receptionist: (Fifteen seconds of silence, which clearly echo with the word “Seriously?”) I’ll see if he’s available.

After sitting on hold for five minutes, we were told, unfortunately, that he was in an all-day meeting. Would we like to speak to somebody in publicity? Sure, why not.

That’s how we got the surprisingly honest “Chip,” who asked that we change his name since he could lose his job for some of what he was about to admit.

Chip: Hi, this is Chip. I understand you’re looking to discuss the Veyron and our Bentley line?
CIC: Hi, Chip. Yes, specifically the fuel efficiency.
Chip: OK, what would you like to know?
CIC: Have any of your customers gone bankrupt buying fuel for them?
Chip: [Laughs] No. Even with gas prices right now, we’re not getting any complaints.
CIC: Have any of your customers ever had to push one of these cars to a gas station when it suddenly ran out of fuel on the highway?
Chip: No, but that’s probably because all of our customers can afford roadside assistance.
CIC: Has AAA ever sent you a nasty letter?
Chip: I think anybody who owns a Veyron probably gets it towed by their butler or something. But each year every environmental group you’ve ever heard of sends us a nasty letter about all the gas we’re wasting.

CIC: So, do you just throw them away or…?
Chip: [Laughs] No, we recycle them. They actually ask us to recycle in the letter. We do the same thing with the press releases telling us how much gas our cars waste.

CIC: Has anybody ever traded in their Bugatti for a Bentley because they want better fuel efficiency?
Chip: Not really. They’re not really what you call customer profiles with a lot of intersection.

CIC: I kind of figured they were all pretty much aimed at people with lots of money and little sense.
Chip: I can confirm the financial status of most of our customers, but I can’t comment on their common sense or lack thereof.
CIC: I’m on Volkswagen’s site right now…
Chip: OK…
CIC: I’m seeing a lot about green technology and fuel efficiency. Yet according to the government, you sell the single most fuel inefficient car of 2011 and an entire line of cars that can’t even crack twenty miles per gallon. How do you reconcile that?

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Chip: Well, that’s a two-part question. With the Veyron, realistically, we just don’t sell that many Bugattis in the first place. I’m sure you’ve seen the price…
CIC: I have. Two million?
Chip: Most of our customers pay a lot more than that. I can’t give you sales numbers, but you can imagine that at that price, it’s a pretty small market.
CIC: Sure.
Chip: Our Bugatti dealers get maybe five customers a year. They know them personally. In 2010 we only shipped 40 cars. Listen, can I be off the record on this?
CIC: I can leave your name out of it.
Chip: Thanks. To be completely honest, our customers with the Veyron aren’t looking for fuel efficiency, they’re really looking to tell the world how much money they have.
CIC: Lots of middle-aged guys in hairpieces with twenty-year-old girlfriends?
Chip: [Pause] No comment.
CIC: I nailed it, didn’t I?
Chip: [Chuckles] No comment. Look, it’s a great driving experience: if I could afford a Veyron, I’d buy one in a minute just because it’s a dream. You know how much horsepower it has?
CIC: A thousand?

Chip: If you’ve never driven a thousand horsepower, it’s amazing. It’s the fastest production car in the world. And they last forever: we have Veyrons that have been used regularly for years that never come in for service. But realistically, a lot of these cars are sold, driven off the lot, and they’re going to sit in some driveway or show garage and get driven on a track once or twice a year.
CIC: So the gas being burned isn’t the biggest waste?

Chip: [Sighs] Yeah, pretty much. It’s really a shame, too. Did you see the Top Gear review?
CIC: The one calling it the car of the decade?
Chip: That one. We loved that. It was great. The engineers killed themselves to make the greatest car ever. It was great to see them get praised.
CIC: Well, let’s talk about your budget class of luxury automobiles…
Chip: [Laughs] The Bentleys?
CIC: The Bentleys. Are there special hidden handles in the back for the chauffeur to push the Bentley?
Chip: No, but we do offer special hitches in the front so he can pull it like a horse and carriage.
CIC: Where does the whip come in?
Chip: Oh, they sit on the roof and dangle their legs through the sunroof.
CIC: Have you ever considered installing a second gas tank in the Bentley, so it can actually travel a realistic distance?
Chip: No, we figure they can just cram the trunk with gas canisters. If I can interrupt the comedy…
CIC: Sure.
Chip: With Bentley, you’re actually right: a lot of our business is high-end chauffeurs and limousine companies. We sell a lot of Bentleys.
CIC: Relatively.
Chip: Relatively, yeah, in cities and the suburbs. We don’t really sell that many Bentleys compared to our other brands.
CIC: How do you feel about rappers buying them?
Chip: As long as the check clears … which it does.
CIC: Really?
Chip: Occasionally, I get a phone call because a dealership wants to do an article about how a rapper came into his showroom and bought a Bentley with cash.

CIC: Serious question: Do you think we’ll ever see a hybrid [version] of either one of these brands?
Chip: It’s funny you should ask. Bentley, they’ve been kicking it around for years, because people would buy them. We get questions about them occasionally. The problem is really re-engineering the cars themselves because they’re really big, really solid cars.

CIC: Could they take out an SUV?
Chip: Honestly? In our crash tests, your average SUV doesn’t fare that well against a Bentley. An ad agency actually tried to talk us into shooting one with a rocket launcher, just to see what would happen.
CIC: Oh, come on, you have to make that ad!
Chip: It wasn’t in the budget. They wanted to hire the Mythbusters to do it.
CIC: Ah, yeah, that sounds pricey. So, with the hybrid, is Bentley just worried about selling cars to hippies instead of their dads?
Chip: [Laughs] You’d be amazed how many of our customers call themselves “ecologically conscious” in surveys.
CIC: And [they] buy a Bentley?

Chip: To be honest, it’s pretty consistent, every consumer tells you they want to save the earth, burn less gas, simplify their life … and then they buy the biggest, most gas-guzzling car they can afford. Honestly, with lines like Bentley and Bugatti, about half of your customers are extremely rich with discerning tastes, and the other half are just people who want to show everyone how rich they are.

CIC: Where do the rappers fall there?
Chip: [Laughs] No comment. Everybody thought the Prius was going to fail because Toyota was catering to what customers were pretending they wanted, not what they really wanted. So a lot of people were surprised by how well it did.
CIC: So no hybrid Bugatti?
Chip: I think they’d have a stroke over there. Like I said, with Bentley it’s really an engineering question: is there enough demand to do it, since we only sell about 20,000 of these cars a year? So far, the answer seems to be “no”; our customers like Bentleys just the way they are. But things change.
CIC: That about wraps up my questions. Thanks for being so honest.
Chip: Thanks for leaving my name out of it. Out of curiosity, who else are you calling?
CIC: Aston Martin, but they haven’t gotten back to me.
Chip: Yeah … don’t expect them to.

So, there you have it. In the end, it really is all about ego and showing off.

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