Record Fuel Economy for U.S. Light Vehicles in May

The index rating for May was 1.4% above April, the largest month-to-month increase since January 2013, due to a market shift to smaller vehicles and hybrid and electric powertrains.

Erin Sunde, Industry Analyst

June 4, 2014

2 Min Read
Record Fuel Economy for U.S. Light Vehicles in May

The WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index indicates the average fuel economy of light vehicles sold in the U.S. in May rose to an all-time high of 25.5 mpg (9.2 L/100 km), 3.1% over year-ago and 21.6% above the base index score set in fourth-quarter 2007.

The index rating for May was 1.4% above April’s 25.1 mpg (9.4 L/100 km), the largest month-to-month increase since January 2013. A market shift to smaller vehicles and hybrid and electric powertrains was the primary factor in the boost.

The average for all cars hit a record 29.7 mpg (7.9 L/100 km) last month. Small and midsize cars saw increased market share and record high index scores. Small cars accounted for 19.7% of LV sales and reached 31.0 mpg (7.6 L/100 km). The index rating for midsize cars shot up 2.6% from prior-month to 30.4 mpg (7.7 L/100 km), and market share for the segment rose to 20.1%. Large cars (23 mpg [10.2 L/100 km]) and luxury cars (25.4 mpg [9.3 L/100 km]) each lost market share from April.

Light trucks sold in May scored 21.1 mpg (11.2 L/100 km), matching the 5-month average for this year. Pickups, the lowest-scoring segment at 17.7 mpg (13.3 L/100 km), lost market share to make up 12.4% of indexed sales. On the other hand, CUVs posted a small uptick in market share to 25.9% and regained a record high score of 23.2 mpg (10.1 L/100 km).

Mitsubishi beat Mazda as the top company, hitting 30.2 mpg (7.8 L/100 km). It is the only automaker, excluding electric-only Tesla, to surpass 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) in the index history.

Increased sales of small, midsize, and hybrid- and electric-powered cars boosted Nissan to an all-time high 29.2 mpg (8.1 L/100 km). Ford benefited from the same shift in sales and hit a record 24.3 mpg (9.7 L/100 km).

Honda posted a high of 27.0 mpg (8.7 L/110 km) in May. Share of hybrid and electric vehicles fell from April, but consumer preference for small cars outweighed the effect of increased gasoline-powered vehicle sales.

BMW’s score jumped 2.6% from April to 25.2 mpg (9.4 L/100 km), mainly due to increased hybrid sales and the availability of the i3 electric car.

Year-to-date, the WardsAuto FEI averaged 25.2 mpg (9.3 L/100 km), up 2.2% from the same period last year.

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About the Author(s)

Erin Sunde

Industry Analyst, WardsAuto

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