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New Car Gas Mileage Average: 23.2 MPG for September 2012

It’s more than a budge of the needle. The year-over-year average in September light vehicle fuel economy numbers has risen to 23.2 miles per gallon (MPG) in 2012, from 22 MPG in September 2011, according to TrueCar.com’s TrueMPG* tally. The Santa Monica-based “authority on new car pricing information, trends and forecasting.”

While the numbers are the highest recorded to date, September 2012 held steady with August. The year-to-date TrueMPG average has risen to the same 23.2 magic MPG, from 21.9 MPG, over the first three quarters in 2011, with General Motors, Honda, and Toyota showing the largest gains in corporate fuel economy over the time period. A slew of new models and punishingly high gas prices have new car buyers seeking more fuel-efficient vehicles, with compacts and subcompacts leading the charge.

All of the top eight manufacturers registered overall gains, year-over-year. A drop in average car MPG at Honda and Volkswagen was offset by larger gains in average “truck” (a.k.a. SUV) MPG.

Average MPG

Average Car MPG

Average Truck MPG

Manufacturer

Sep-12

Sep-11

YoY

Sep-12

Sep-11

 YoY

Sep-12

Sep-11

YoY

Chrysler

20.0

19.2

0.8

23.9

22.6

1.4

18.3

17.7

0.6

Ford

21.9

21.0

0.9

26.6

25.8

0.8

19.8

19.3

0.6

GM

21.5

20.4

1.1

25.1

24.9

0.3

18.8

18.5

0.3

Honda

25.0

23.9

1.1

26.8

27.5

-0.7

22.3

21.0

1.3

Hyundai

27.5

26.7

0.8

29.4

28.7

0.7

23.9

23.7

0.2

Nissan

24.0

23.4

0.7

26.7

26.3

0.4

20.1

19.7

0.4

Toyota

24.6

23.3

1.4

29.1

27.7

1.5

19.3

18.9

0.3

Volkswagen

26.6

26.4

0.2

27.1

27.9

-0.8

21.6

19.2

2.4

Industry

23.2

22.0

1.2

26.3

25.8

0.5

19.8

19.2

0.6

The chart below breaks out the numbers by manufacturer between average small car, midsize car, and large truck MPGs. The rise in small car MPG at Chrysler, Subaru, and Mazda is particularly stunning, registering gains of 6.0, 6.8, and 4.7 MPG, respectively, year-over-year. The new Dart, Subaru Impreza, and Mazda3 Skyactiv are clearly making their mark.

Average Small Car MPG

Average Midsize Car MPG

Average Large Truck MPG

Manufacturer

Sep-12

Sep-11

YoY

Sep-12

Sep-11

YoY

Sep-12

Sep-11

YoY

Chrysler

31.1

25.0

6.0

23.9

24.1

-0.2

15.8

15.6

0.2

Ford

32.3

32.1

0.2

26.8

26.6

0.2

17.4

17.5

-0.1

GM

30.5

30.4

0.0

26.3

25.2

1.2

17.1

17.0

0.1

Honda

31.9

31.8

0.1

26.3

25.4

0.9

17.2

16.9

0.3

Hyundai

31.3

31.1

0.2

28.0

27.5

0.4

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Mazda

30.8

26.1

4.7

23.3

24.8

-1.5

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Mitsubishi

25.2

25.9

-0.7

24.3

24.3

0.0

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Nissan

31.1

30.7

0.4

27.6

25.0

2.5

14.3

14.3

0.0

Subaru

28.3

21.5

6.8

25.4

24.2

1.3

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Suzuki

 N/A

 N/A

N/A

25.1

25.2

-0.1

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Toyota

34.8

33.5

1.3

28.3

25.0

3.4

15.6

15.8

-0.2

Volkswagen

30.8

30.6

0.2

29.2

30.0

-0.9

 N/A

 N/A

 N/A

Industry

31.8

30.6

1.2

26.9

25.6

1.4

16.8

16.8

0.0

* 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 the EPA’s average fuel economy rating using 45 percent highway and 55 percent city driving behavior.

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