U.S. Fuel Economy Rises in November; Declines for 3-Month Period

Plug-in hybrids take a record 0.5% share of indexed sales, while diesels make a year-over-year comeback.

John Sousanis, Director, Information Content

December 9, 2016

2 Min Read
U.S. Fuel Economy Rises in November; Declines for 3-Month Period

The WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index indicates the average fuel economy of light vehicles sold in the U.S. in November was 25.2 mpg (9.3 L/100 km), up 0.7% from same-month 2015. However, the 25.3 mpg (9.3 L/100 km) rating for the 3-month period (September to November) represented a 0.6% decline from the prior year.

The national average gasoline price was $2.359 a gallon, 1.5% higher than year-ago, but 2.7% below October’s average.

The share of standard gasoline-powered vehicles fell to 94.6% from 96.4% in like-2015 as diesel share jumped 27.8% to 1.3%, against decidedly weak year-ago sales. Electric and hybrid vehicle share also improved, while plug-in hybrids took a record 0.5% of monthly sales.

Cars sold in November averaged 30.1 mpg (7.8 L/100 km), up 1.7% from year-ago. Domestically built cars improved 1.6%, while imports declined 1.7%.

Light trucks scored 22.2 mpg (10.6 L/100 km) on the index, a 1.5% gain on prior-year. Pickups earned an 18.9 mpg (12.5 L/100 km) rating, falling from the segment’s best-ever 19.1 mpg (12.3 L/100 km) October rating and improving on year-ago by just 0.3%.

Three vehicle segments fell below same-month 2015 on the FEI, small cars (-0.5%), large cars (-1.5%) and SUVs (-0.2%).

Mazda led all automakers (excluding Tesla) with a 30.1 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) rating), surpassing 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) for the 13th consecutive month.

Porsche brought up the rear at 20.5 mpg (11.5 L/100 km) and was the only automaker rated below 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km). FCA was the lowest rated among the top five sellers at 23.5 mpg (10.0 L/100 km), a 1.3% decline from year-ago reflecting the diminished role of cars in the automaker’s mix.

Jaguar Land Rover, while earning the second-lowest rating on the Index, showed the most year-over-year improvement, rising 4.6% to a company-record 21.1 mpg (11.1 L/100 km). Volkswagen, meanwhile, recorded the month’s largest year-over-year decline, falling 2.6%, though its 28.2 mpg (8.3 L/100 km) rating remained the industry’s fifth highest.

Total industry fuel economy through 11 months rose 0.5% over like-2015 to 25.3 mpg (9.3 L/100 km).

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About the Author(s)

John Sousanis

Director, Information Content, WardsAuto

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