The increase was spurred by small-car sales, which accounted for more than 20% of the market for the first time since March. Large cars made up just 1.38% of LV deliveries, the segment’s lowest share ever.
The average fuel economy for new cars sold in the U.S. rose to its highest level ever in August, according the WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index, lifting the fuel-economy rating for all light vehicles to its fourth-highest to date.
Light-vehicle sales last month climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.47 million units, the highest monthly SAAR in the past three years.
The fuel-economy improvement was spurred by an increase in small-car sales, which accounted for more than 20% of the market for the first time since March. Large cars made up just 1.38% of LV deliveries, the segment’s lowest share ever.
That change in mix helped push the fuel-economy rating for all cars sold in August to 27.3 mpg (8.6 L/100 km), a thousandth of a point better than the previous record set in March. Also contributing to the record, the luxury-car segment attained its highest-ever FEI rating of 22.8 mpg (10.3 L/100 km), while accounting for 7.2% of the LV market.
Cars and light trucks scored a combined 23.8 mpg (9.9 L/100 km) rating, just 1% less than the record 24.1 mpg (9.7 L/100 km) set in March.
Light trucks outsold cars for the second consecutive month in August, making up 50.05% of LV sales and earning a 20 mpg (11.7 L/100 km) rating, down slightly from July but up 4.2% from year-ago.
Cross/utility vehicles was the best-selling segment for the month, accounting for 24% share, with a 22.2 mpg (10.6 L/100 km) rating.
After losing the No.1 index rating for the first time in 2012 last month,reclaimed its top spot in August, scoring 27.2 mpg (8.6 L/100 km). , with 26.95 mpg (8.7 L/100 km), edged out Kia, with 26.9 mpg (8.8 L/100 km), which was the FEI leader for the first time in July.
Asian auto makers earned a collective 26.1 mpg (9.0 L/100 km) rating in August, while accounting for 45.8% of LV sales.
A boost in Chevrolet deliveries lifted’ share by 1.3 points from July and helped raise the auto maker’s fuel economy to a company-best 21.9 mpg (10.7 L/100 km).
, with 19.8 mpg (11.8 L/100 km), was one of only two auto makers, along with Jaguar Land Rover, with 16.7 mpg (14.1 L/100 km), to earn an index rating of less than 20.
The Detroit Three auto makers, with a 21.3 mpg (11 L/100 km) index rating, combined for 45.4% of the market last month.
European brands accounted for 8.8% of U.S. LV sales in August, with a combined index rating of 23.2 mpg (10.1 L/100 km).finished in the No.4 spot on the index rating with 26.7 mpg (8.8 L/100 km), leading all European auto makers.
The industry year-to-date rating held at 23.8 mpg (9.9 L/100 km), a 4.8% improvement over like-2011 and 13.7% better than the WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index base of 20.9 (11.2 L/100 km) established in fourth-quarter 2007.