The WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index indicates the average fuel economy of light vehicles sold in the U.S. in August was 25.5 mpg (9.2 L/100 km), up 0.8% from same-month 2015.
The national average gasoline price was $2.284, 2.6% less than in July and 16.2% below year-ago. The share of standard gasoline-powered vehicles rose to 95.2% from 94.6% in like-2015, at the expense of hybrid models. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids showed small upticks in share, accounting for 0.5% and 0.4% of August sales, respectively.
Low fuel costs kept shoppers interested in CUVs instead of cars, leading to the highest share of any month for CUVs at 34.0%. The share of cars hit an all-time low, accounting for 38.9% of sales.
Cars sold in the month averaged 30.1 mpg (7.8 L/100 km), up 2.5% from like-2015. Domestically built cars improved 1.8%, while imports rated 4.8% above year-ago.
Light trucks scored 22.3 mpg (10.5 L/100 km) on the index, a 2.0% gain on prior-year. Domestic models hit a high point of 21.6 mpg (10.9 L/100 km).
Luxury cars were the most improved segment as their rating increased 5.5% due to sales of electrics and plug-in hybrids pacing well above year-ago. CUVs hit a record 24.7 mpg (9.5 L/100 km), up 2.6% from August 2015.
Jaguar Land Rover was the only automaker to see a new high, growing slightly to 20.6 mpg (11.4 L/100 km).
Volkswagen had the worst year-over-year results, falling 3.9% from the lack of diesel sales and a small shift to CUVs from cars. Volvo remained the most improved automaker, as sales of plug-in hybrids helped boosted its rating 13.8% above year-ago.
Over the first eight months of the year, the average index rating sat at 25.4 mpg (9.2 L/100 km), up 0.5% from same-period 2015.