Manufacturers are making more efficient cars and trucks; we’ve known that to be true for some time. Nearly every new car has some sort of trick to eke a few extra miles out of every gallon of fuel. Whether that be turbocharging, active aerodynamics or hybrid technology/electrified powertrains, the fact is that our vehicles are more efficient than ever before.
Thanks to a recent study by TrueCar, we’ve got fresh quantitative data to support the above statements. For the fourth month in a row, we’ve seen an improvement in national fleet fuel economy. We Americans are 0.7 miles per gallon more efficient than we were last month, and our cars are 1.6-mpg better than at this time last year. That said, we’re still down on 2013′s high, which was set back in January at 24.5 mpg.
Not only does this reflect the improved technologies in our vehicles, but it demonstrates a changing mindset among consumers, who are purchasing more efficient vehicles despite the relative stabilization of fuel prices. Every fuel-efficient model sold drives its manufacturers fleet average up.
The top three brands among mainstream manufacturers aren’t a huge surprise. Hyundai, which offers 10 models with four-cylinder engines (including the excellent Elantra range) took the top spot, while the diesel and turbocharged models from Volkswagen finished just 0.8 mpg behind Hyundai’s 27-mpg average. Honda is further back in third, thanks to its remarkably efficient four-cylinder engines. American makes didn’t fare as well, with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all finishing below the 23.7-mpg industry average. This isn’t a huge surprise, though, as the Detroit Three are responsible for the vast majority of eight-cylinder pickups and muscle cars sold in the US.