What Is the Mustang MPG Package?

The Mustang MPG Package is very much representative of everything good and bad about the Mustang II. No matter what your thoughts on the often-maligned second generation pony car are, the MPG package is unlikely to do anything to change your mind. As the name implies, it represents a rethinking of the philosophy behind the Mustang, focusing more on efficiency than record-shattering performance. Released in 1975, the Mustang MPG featured a 2.3L four-cylinder engine, a catalytic converter and a 3.18:1 rear-axle ratio. The package was a hit with energy-conscious consumers and, going forward, all base model (four cylinder) Mustang IIs shared the MPG nameplate.

MPG Package MustangFuel Efficiency

Understanding the impetus behind the Mustang MPG requires a little bit of history about the 1973 oil crisis. From 1973 to 1975 the price of gas more than quadrupled to over $12 a barrel. Consumers who were used to cheap oil soon found themselves looking for more economical alternatives to the gas-guzzling cars of the ‘60s. The Mustang MPG earned its efficiency, delivering an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

To highlight these impressive stats, Ford ran a major ad campaign positioning the Mustang II against imported econoboxes such as the VW Beetle, Toyota Corona and Datsun 710. Unlike its old competitors in the pony car class, such as the Camaro and Challenger — both of which were struggling sales-wise — the Mustang II was actually thriving and sold briskly throughout the ‘70s.

A Sales Success

Many of those who continue to hold a negative impression of the Mustang II fail to realize that, at the time, it was also a major critical success. Named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1973, the popularity of the Mustang II was essential to keeping the classic pony car alive during the ‘70s. In 1975, with the introduction of the MPG package, the Mustang II had its best year yet, selling almost 200,000 units. Clearly, despite the protests of those who missed its muscle car heyday, Ford was on to something.

Although the Mustang II and, in particular, the four-cylinder MPG package may never be a collector’s favorite, it remains an important part of the brand’s history and overall success.