As fuel-economy leader Toyota Motor Corp.’s market share of monthly U.S. light-vehicle deliveries dropped below 13% for the first time since July 2005, the February average fuel economy per new vehicle sold slipped to 22.1 mpg (10.6 L/100 km), down 0.1 mpg compared with January’s record rating.

However, February’s rating was up 0.3 points from year-ago, leaving the industry’s year-to-date rating on the Ward’s Fuel Economy Index at 22.2 mpg (10.6 L/100 km), a full 0.5 points ahead of like-2009.

Related document: Ward’s Fuel Economy Index

General Motors Co., with lighter-than-usual pickup sales in February, saw its Ward’s FEI rating rise 0.7% to 20.7 mpg (11.4 L/100 km), giving the auto maker its highest monthly rating to date with the exception of the Cash for Clunkers-skewed August rating of 21.1.

Ford Motor Co. month-to-month comparison rose 1.3% to 20.3 mpg (11.4 L/100 km), its best non-Clunker rating, as well.

Toyota maintained its unbroken streak atop Ward’s FEI. But trucks gained share in its February sales, compared with January, while deliveries of the highest-rated Prius fell 6.1%. This dropped Toyota’s overall rating to 25.3 mpg (9.3 L/100 km), down 1.5% from January and 0.3 points behind like-2009.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. retained the No.2 spot on the index, with a 24.4 rating, beating out third-ranked Volkswagen AG by just a few hundredths of a point.

BMW AG showed the greatest month-to-month rating’s gain, climbing 1.4% to 20.9 mpg (11.2 L/100 km). Suzuki Motor Corp., which fell 2.5% from January to February for a 22.1 rating, was the only auto maker to experience a greater percentage decline than Toyota on Ward’s FEI index.

The gap between imports and domestically built vehicles increased slightly, as the import rating stayed at 24.5 while domestics slipped to 21.4.

jsousanis@wardsauto.com