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Fuel Economy An Undeniable Theme Of The 2012 New York Auto Show

From electric vehicles to diesels and hybrids, gasoline usage is clearly on the decline among this year's newly unveiled cars. The 2012 New York International Auto Show even includes an "EV Pavilion" test loop, where visitors can ride in one of the several electric cars already on sale from Chevrolet, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

Infiniti LE Concept (credit: Brady Holt)
Infiniti LE Concept (credit: Brady Holt)

The Top Luxury Concept: Infiniti LE
A luxury Infiniti version of the Nissan Leaf electric car was unveiled in concept form on Thursday. It ignores the assumption that a car with no engine has to be small and dumpy. The Infiniti LE concept is a sleek sedan shaped for aerodynamics as well as style. The car will go 100 miles on a charge and like some cell phones, you don't have to physically plug it in to recharge the batteries. Parking on top of an "inductive charging station" lets electricity flow in wirelessly. Pricing hasn't been announced for the Infiniti LE, but because the batteries are so expensive, even the mainstream Nissan Leaf hatchback starts at more than $35,000.

The EV Pavilion (credit: Brady Holt)
The Electric Vehicle Pavilion (credit: Brady Holt)

More Green Luxury Options
Another luxury fuel-saver is the new Acura RLX concept, which debuted as the next flagship for Honda's luxury brand. Its electric motors will work with the V6 to deliver a promise of V8 power, but with four-cylinder fuel economy. Fisker debuted its stylish Atlantic plug-in hybrid, though it's still keeping quiet about its pricing, specs and on-sale date. But you don't have to buy a luxury car to go gas-free. Smart is showing off the electric version of its tiny Fortwo, and Mitsubishi is displaying its i MiEV all-electric hatchback that went on sale earlier this year.

Diesel Cars & Other Gas Savers
To reduce fuel consumption without the complication of electric batteries, some automakers are using diesel engines, the popular solution in Europe. Two diesel-powered luxury SUVs were unveiled at the auto show this week. The Mercedes-Benz GLK and Porsche Cayenne now join several that are already on sale in that class. Nissan revised its automatic transmission to achieve a best-in-class 38 miles per gallon on the highway from its redesigned 2013 Altima midsize sedan. Hyundai achieves a class-leading 33 miles per gallon on the highway from the new 2013 Santa Fe Sport SUV.


For more great, firsthand coverage of the New York International Auto Show, visit

Brady Holt, a Washington D.C. newspaper reporter, has had a lifelong interest in cars in the automotive world, and he'll share his thoughts at every available opportunity. Brady has written for since 2008, and covered the '08 New York International Auto Show with's Inside Line team as a student journalist. His work can be found on

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