Surging Truck Sales Hurting National Fuel Economy Average

Fuel economy average drops 0.1 mpg to 25.3 mpg.

by on Jul.06, 2016

Rising truck sales are hurting the national fuel economy average, which dropped to 25.3 mpg in June.

The ongoing surge in trucks sales is cutting into the improvements in fuel economy, according to a new report from the University of Michigan.

The average fuel economy or window-sticker value of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in June 2016 was 25.3 mpg—down 0.1 mpg from the value for May 2016, the University of Michigan reported.

The Journal of Record!

This decline likely reflects the increased market share of pickup trucks and SUVs. Fuel economy is down 0.5 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.2 mpg since October 2007, U-M said.

During the first half of 2016. truck and utility vehicles accounted for 57.8% of the vehicles sold in the United States during the first half of 2016, compared to 53.8% in the first six months of 2015, according to Auto Data.

Domestic automakers, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, particularly have watched.

Some 72.2% of the vehicles sold by FCA were trucks and utility vehicles, compared with 66% in first half of 2015, according to the company’s own sales numbers.

Large SUVs are gaining in popularity and cutting the average fuel economy of new vehicles.

The shift wasn’t quite as dramatic at GM and Ford since both companies have broader and deeper passenger car lines than FCA.

But GM said the full-size Tahoe and Suburban SUVs had their best June performance since 2008, the start of the recession that prompted many buyers to shifted to smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles. The Chevrolet Colorado pickup had its best June since 2006 and the Silverado Crew Cab had its best June since 2005.

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“Strong customer demand has helped us continue growing our truck leadership position, further widening the gap with our nearest competitor versus last year,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

“Consumer demand for Ford SUVs also continues to surge to all-time highs, allowing us to introduce new levels of capability, versatility and technology to a whole new generation of SUV fans.”

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Ford brand SUVs had their best-ever first half with 395,116 total vehicles sold – up 9% versus a year ago. Ford SUVs posted a 7% increase last month with 69,641 vehicles sold, marking the best June in 15 years. Escape sales were up 20%, driven by the new 2017 model.

The U-M’s Eco-Driving Index—an index that estimates the average monthly emissions of greenhouse gases generated by an individual U.S. driver—was 0.85 in April 2016, up 0.01 from the value for March 2016.

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This value indicates that the average new-vehicle driver produced 15% lower emissions in April 2016 than in October 2007, but 7% higher emissions than the record low reached in both August 2014 and August 2015.

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