More Fuel-Efficient Trucks Raise Fuel Economy in November

More Fuel-Efficient Trucks Raise Fuel Economy in November

Model-year improvements, plus a small gain in EV sales, pushed the market average upward, opposing the traditionally negative impact of growing truck sales.

The WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index shows the average fuel economy rating of light vehicles sold in the U.S. in November was 25.4 mpg (9.3 L/100 km), up 0.7% from year-ago.

The national average gasoline price was $2.76, 1.9% higher than in August and 16.3% above year-ago.

Growing fuel costs were a likely factor in the share of standard gasoline models declining slightly to 96.5% from 96.7% in same-month 2016. Battery-electric vehicles gained share, while hybrids and plug-in hybrids showed negligible movement.

Market share of all light-truck segments grew from last year, pushing the vehicle type to a record-high share of 65.2%.

Cars sold in the month averaged 30.4 mpg (7.7 L/100 km), up 0.7% from year-ago. Domestically built cars improved 1.0%, while imports were flat with year-ago.

Luxury cars were the only segment to score below prior-year, 0.6%. The rating for midsize cars surpassed 31 mpg for the first time, growing 1.3% to 31.2 mpg (7.5 L/100 km) in November.

Light trucks reached 22.7 mpg (10.3 L/100 km) on the index, a 3.0% gain on like-2016. The average rating for domestics increased 3.1%, and imported models improved 2.3%.

CUVs showed the greatest upward movement of the light-truck segments, jumping 4.0% to 25.3 mpg (9.3 L/100 km). Penetration of electrics and hybrids in the fleet rose from year-ago.

SUVs and pickups showed small upticks, up just 0.1% on the index.

November marked the sixth consecutive month where no automaker (excluding electric-only Tesla) averaged above 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km).

Honda remained the highest rated automaker at 29.1 mpg (8.1 L/100 km).

FCA had the lowest score, 20.9 mpg (11.2 L/100 km), despite growing sales of the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV.

Volvo’s index result rose 3.0% to a record-high 25.1 mpg (9.4 L/100 km), boosted in large part by sales of plug-in hybrids.

General Motors also reached a best-ever result, rising 4.8% from year-ago to 24.3 mpg (9.7 L/100 km). The Chevrolet Bolt EV gained share in the automaker’s November sales.

Nissan had the greatest year-to-year drop, falling 5.0%. Electric cars sales were down, likely because interested buyers are waiting for the release of the next-generation Leaf in 2018.

The industrywide index rating for the first eleven months of 2017 was 25.4 mpg (9.3 L/100 km), up 0.5% from same-period 2016.

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