US: sales boom delivers bigger rides, lower fuel economy image

It’s no secret that once the US auto industry has recovered from the brink of collapse, the consumers returned to their love-affair: gas guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks.

And starting last year the considerable slide in gasoline prices has augmented that behavior, with US motorists turning to larger, more powerful and worse performers in terms of fuel economy. During September the average fuel economy for vehicles sold in the United States stood at 25.2 miles per gallon, which is 0.6 mpg lower than it was back in August 2014, says the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. “The decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in September and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and crossovers,” commented the institute. Fuel economy, only judging by the window-sticker values, has surged 5.1 mpg, around 25 percent, since October 2007, when the institute started to monitor the values. The increase came on the back of surging gasoline price and stricter regulatory levels.

Now the improvement is going backwards as the fuel prices remain rather low and buyers once more trade efficiency in favor of size and power. During the first nine months of the year, deliveries of the light truck segment – which include pickups and SUVs – have surged at least 11 percent and passenger car sales have in the meantime recessed by 2 percent. The trend is actually apparent around the world, from China to Europe, where crossovers now have signed the death warrant on certain exotic niches, such as convertibles.

Via Reuters