New car fuel economy levels in the U.S. reached a record last month, indicating that more Americans are choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles in order to cope with surging gas prices.

The average fuel economy of a new car sold in the U.S. in February was 23.7 miles per gallon, up slightly from 23.5 mpg in January, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) reported. Fuel economy numbers have risen 16 percent in the past four years, according to UMTRI. Research firm TrueCar, using different methodology, came up with a slightly lower average – 23.2 mpg – as detailed in the press release after the jump.

The record reflects a combination of a wider range of fuel-efficient vehicles and spiking gas prices. The average price of regular gas was about $3.75 a gallon on March 1, up about 20 cents a gallon from the beginning of the year, according to AAA.

As a result, sales of some hybrids and smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles have jumped. For the first two months of the year, Toyota boosted Prius sales by 33 percent from a year earlier, while sales of General Motors' Chevrolet Cruze are up 10 percent.

UMTRI's numbers show that U.S. automakers are gradually making their way towards meeting progressively more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions standards proposed through 2025. For the model year 2010 – the most recent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracked for fleetwide fuel economy – U.S. light-duty vehicles achieved an average fuel economy of 22.5 miles per gallon, which was up 17 percent from the 2004 model year. Last year, the Obama Administration proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2025 of 54.5 miles per gallon, which equates to a real world average of about 40 mpg.
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Average Fuel Economy for New Cars Sold in February 2012 Rises to 23.2 MPG According to TrueCar.com's TrueMPG
Ford's Fuel-Economy Raised Nearly 5 MPG to 22.2 MPG from 17.3 MPG in February 2011


SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- TrueCar.com, the authority on new car pricing, trends and forecasting, today provided actual fuel economy numbers from February light vehicle auto sales that indicate TrueMPG™ increased to 23.2 mpg in February 2012 compared to 21.4 mpg in February 2011, and increased from January 2012 at 22.9 mpg.

"The American consumer shopping for a new car is seeing the most fuel-efficient lineup of vehicles ever while manufacturers are keeping the product just as exciting," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Market Intelligence at TrueCar.com. "Ford's average fuel economy increased by almost 5 MPG, which is quite staggering and much of the credit goes to the Fusion and Focus, along with its new lineup of six-cylinder large trucks."

Below is how the top seven manufacturers fared comparing overall mpg, broken out by car and truck mpg:

Average TrueMPG

Average Car TrueMPG

Average Truck TrueMPG

Manufacturer

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Chrysler

19.6

19.0

0.6

22.6

20.7

2.0

18.1

18.0

0.1

Ford

22.2

17.3

4.9

27.0

24.2

2.8

19.6

16.2

3.4

GM

21.5

20.5

0.9

25.3

24.1

1.1

19.1

19.3

-0.2

Honda

25.4

24.0

1.5

28.7

27.1

1.7

22.6

21.0

1.6

Hyundai

28.0

26.0

2.0

29.6

27.2

2.5

23.7

23.8

-0.1

Nissan

23.7

22.5

1.2

26.2

25.0

1.2

20.2

19.4

0.8

Toyota

25.3

24.6

0.7

30.4

29.8

0.5

19.5

18.8

0.7

Industry

23.2

21.4

1.8

27.0

25.4

1.5

19.7

18.6

1.1


According to TrueCar.com, the TrueMPG™ for vehicles sold by U.S. manufacturers averaged 21.2 mpg in February 2012, up from 19.0 mpg in February 2011. European manufacturers increased their average fuel economy for vehicles sold from 22.0 mpg to 23.0 mpg; Japanese manufacturers increased their average fuel economy from 23.8 mpg to 24.9 mpg; and South Korean manufacturers increased their average fuel economy for vehicles from 26.0 mpg to 28.0 mpg.

Below is a snapshot of a few vehicle segments and how they compare from February 2012 versus February 2011:

Average Small Car TrueMPG

Average Midsize Car TrueMPG

Average Large Truck TrueMPG

Manufacturer

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Feb-12

Feb-11

Change

Chrysler

25.0

24.3

0.7

24.0

24.0

0.0

15.8

15.6

0.2

Ford

32.2

28.6

3.6

26.7

25.5

1.2

17.4

15.8

1.6

GM

30.3

28.2

2.0

25.8

25.4

0.4

17.0

17.1

0.0

Honda

32.3

29.9

2.4

26.1

25.7

0.5

17.2

16.9

0.3

Hyundai

31.3

28.7

2.6

27.8

26.7

1.1

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mazda

29.0

26.0

3.0

24.9

23.7

1.2

N/A

N/A

N/A

Mitsubishi

24.8

25.8

-1.0

24.3

24.3

0.0

N/A

N/A

N/A

Nissan

30.8

28.8

2.0

25.2

23.7

1.5

14.3

14.2

0.1

Subaru

28.2

22.2

5.9

24.2

24.0

0.2

N/A

N/A

N/A

Suzuki

N/A

N/A

N/A

25.0

25.0

0.1

N/A

N/A

N/A

Toyota

35.3

34.4

0.9

28.5

24.4

4.1

15.4

15.6

-0.2

Volkswagen

30.5

29.1

1.5

29.2

24.6

4.6

N/A

N/A

N/A

Industry

31.7

29.8

1.9

26.4

24.9

1.4

16.8

16.0

0.7


TrueMPG™ is an easy-to-understand and objective way to comprehend monthly fuel economy averages by brand, manufacturer, origin and vehicle segments using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings based on estimated and/or actual monthly automotive sales-weighted data. TrueCar.com is seeking to provide transparency and truth in average fuel economy, providing an alternative view to Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) ratings that can be confusing and misleading. TrueMPG™ helps keep in perspective what each manufacturer's average miles per gallon per car sold using EPA's window sticker.

TrueMPG™ computes monthly average fuel economy by brand, manufacturer, origin and vehicle segments by using actual sales data or forecasted sales data for the current month. Calculations start at the trim level, taking into account EPA fuel economy data including engine size and drivetrain that affect a vehicle's MPG ratings; the sales share from each trim level is then calculated to create an average for each model. Brand level data is calculated by the sales share of each model and the manufacturer data is then based on the share of each brand, providing an accurate and completely data driven picture of actual measured MPGs in the market place. TrueCar utilizes EPA's average fuel economy rating using 45 percent highway and 55 percent city driving behavior.

For additional data on TrueMPG by brand, manufacturer, origin and vehicle segment, please visit the TrueCar Truth Blog. The TrueMPG data will be released in February's TrueCar.com TrueTrends report.

About TrueCar, Inc.

TrueCar, Inc. is an automotive solutions provider focused on changing how cars are sold by providing a significantly better customer experience while helping qualified dealer partners to gain incremental market share and reduce costs. TrueCar is a visual publisher of new car transaction data. TrueCar price reports help both dealers and consumers to agree on the parameters of a fair deal by providing an accurate, comprehensive and simple understanding of what others actually paid recently for an identically-equipped vehicle both locally and nationally. TrueCar works with a national network of dealers that provide a no-hassle car buying experience to assist some of the nation's largest and most well respected membership and service organizations to meet the auto buying needs of their members and customers. TrueCar is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA and has offices in San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX. With 131 percent annual growth since 2006, TrueCar has connected hundreds of thousands of consumers with dealers nationwide resulting in the sale of over 400,000 vehicles and is developing a suite of products and services centered on radical clarity through the comprehensive analysis of market data and information.

You can follow TrueCar on Twitter and become a fan of TrueCar on Facebook.

Disclaimer

This press release and the information contained herein is for noncommercial use on "as-is, as available" basis and may be used for informational purposes only. TrueCar makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in this press release and the results of the use of such information, including but not limited to implied warranty of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. The information contained in this press release may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Neither TrueCar nor any of its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates or respective partners, officers, or directors, employees or agents shall be held liable for any damages, whether direct, incidental, indirect, special or consequential, including without limitation lost revenues or lost profits, arising from or in connection with your use or reliance on the information presented in this press release.