Fuel Economy Index for New Cars Sets Record
Wards Auto -- "U.S. new light vehicles achieved record fuel-efficiency for the third month in a row in March, according to the WardsAuto Fuel-Economy Index (see chart above). Cars and light trucks sold in the month had a combined 24.1 mpg rating, a 1% improvement on the previous record set in February. It was the first time the index has risen above 24 mpg.
The new benchmark represents a 15% increase in fuel efficiency over the index’s base rating of 20.9 mpg, established in fourth-quarter 2007. March light vehicle sales signified a continued movement toward smaller fuel-efficient vehicles that dominated the first quarter.
Car companies have rolled out an increasingly large selection of small and midsize vehicles, including a growing number of hybrid and alternate-power vehicles that provide consumers interested in fuel economy greater choice than ever. Indeed, vehicles rated higher than 30 mpg on the index accounted for 11.8% of sales in March, up from 4.3% year-ago. The 270% increase was made possible, in part, by the increasing number of vehicles available in that category."
MP: Every time I think I'm aware of all of the economic indexes available, I find a new one like this.
Perhaps this is a consumer response to higher gasoline prices? Replacing a used vehicle getting 20 mpg with a new vehicle getting 24 mpg would completely offset an increase in the price of gas going from $3.33 per gallon to $4 per gallon, on an annual basis.