According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the fleetwide fuel economy in the United States increased for the second consecutive month to 24.9 mpg during the month of January 2014.
Though the average peaked at 25 mpg late last year, the current figure is up 1.2 percent over the 24.6 mpg average gained at the same time last year, while already ahead of the overall 2013 average of 24.7 mpg. The gain is in spite of falling green-car sales in the same month, where 14 percent less hybrids and EVs left the showroom floor than had done so in 2013.
The cause? The Toyota Prius, whose four variants on the same theme lost 23 percent of what was sold at the same time last year to more three- and four-pot models such as the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark, whose application of fuel economy technology differs greatly from EV and hybrid offerings while also capable of pulling customers away from the truck lots.