1974 AMC Gremlin

1974 AMC Gremlin

It took a little kerfuffle with OPEC, but the American buying public finally added fuel economy to its collective list of new-car purchase considerations. Though carmakers had always put some effort into touting the fuel efficiency of the vehicles it produced, it took the 1973-74 oil embargo gas-price spike—and gas lines—to really kick the marketing of mileage into high gear. The subsequent 1979 oil embargo only served to cement the movement.

Single-Cylinder Cadillac Ad

Auto makers have been touting the efficiency of their products since the very beginning. However, it took the 1973 OPEC oil embargo to really step up the advertising effort.

Collected here are 10 classic ads all built around the message of fuel economy. Though most of these ads are for what we once described as economy cars, some are not, which makes them even more interesting.

Those paying attention at the time will no doubt recall how General Motors ads for its diesel-powered products always included EPA fuel-economy estimates, as well as vehicle’s potential range, assuming a full tank of fuel. The Oldsmobile ad below includes such projections.

Tell us, which of the advertised fuel-economy estimates below feels the least credible?

More Classic Car Ads


51 Ford Truck Ad

1951 Ford F-1 Pickup


1974 AMC Gremlin Ad

1974 AMC Gremlin


1975 Ford Pinto MPG Ad

1975 Ford Pinto


1976 Chevrolet Chevette Ad

1976 Chevrolet Chevette


1977 Toyota Corolla Ad

1977 Toyota Corolla


1978 Honda Civic Ad

1978 Honda Civic


1978 Plymouth Volare Ad

1978 Plymouth Volaré


1981 Dodge Aries Ad

1981 Dodge Aries


1981 Datsun 210 Ad

1981 Datsun 210


1985 Oldsmobile Diesel ad

1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

Classic Car Ads: Sexy Ladies Edition

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