lt1-2Performance cars can no longer sacrifice efficiency and fuel economy in the name of performance, unless buyers are willing to pay a stiff emissions-related penalty in the form of a gas guzzler surcharge. On a corporate-wide level, GM never has paid a penalty for corporate non-compliance, and it’s not about to start now.

lt1-1That is why the 2014 Corvette comes rated at 29 MPG highway with a seven-speed manual, and it is now being reported that Stingrays equipped with the six-speed automatic can expect up to 28 MPG on the highway according to Motor Trend. That should make long road trips a lot less fuel intensive.

Because of its relatively light weight and tall top gear ratio, the 2014 Corvette C7 has always been expected to above-average fuel economy for a sports car. For comparison, the 480 horsepower Nissan GT-R is rated at 16 city and 23 MPG highway, though it has the disadvantage of carrying around the extra weight and friction of all-wheel drive.

A more-fair comparison could be the Ferrari California, which starts around $200,000 and packs a 4.3 liter, 454 horsepower V8 engine. The rear-drive Ferrari’s powerplant has about two liters less displacement than the Corvette’s LT1, yet manages only a measly 19 MPG on the highway, and 13 MPG in the city. This is why Ferrari simply pays the U.S. emissions fees, driving the cost of their cars further through the roof.

But GM doesn’t need to jack up prices to deliver Ferrari-like performance at a quarter of the cost. Tell us again which is the better-engineered driving machine?