Like Clockwork, Average Fuel Economy Drops Along With Gas Prices

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

A study by TrueCar confirms something most of us know in our hearts; when gas prices go down, sales of less efficient vehicles rebound.

“We continue to see increases in fuel economy among the major manufacturers compared to the previous years but as we’ve started to see a decline in gas prices in recent weeks, consumer preferences showed a slight shift toward larger, less-fuel-efficient vehicles,”

Compared to May, 2011, average fuel economy was up for both cars and trucks, but the dip in gas prices, according to TrueCar, means that the pendulum has swung, albeit slightly, towards larger, thirstier vehicles. The full breakdown can be found at the above link – we’ll be keeping an eye on June sales to see how falling gas prices have shifted to nameplate order. Not that we expect everyone to abandon the F-150 Ecoboost for the SVT Raptor.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Raph Raph on Jun 12, 2012

    Pffft.... as an owner of a supercharged car and living near an E85 station, the thought of gasoline sky rocketing doesn't scare me over much. As long as E85 stays reasonable, I'm an injector and pulley swap away from going alky. Back when it was even more heavily subsidized than alcohol is now, I calculated that given E85's lower energy content and a car who's engine was largely optimized for burning gas ( namely a cooling system designed to handle gasoline energy output) if gas bridged the 5 dollar mark and E85 state a tad under 4 dollars it would be more economical to run E85.

  • Daveainchina Daveainchina on Jun 12, 2012

    I still think the price of oil is going to climb enough that buying by MPG is a smart thing to do. With India and China both increasing their demand for oil and that will continue for a long time, I think 5-10 years from now people with vehicles that are 20-30 mpg on the highway are not going to be too happy.

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Jun 12, 2012

    I've been watching gas prices rise since 2008 when it did go above $4 a Gal for the first time and have noted since then that it won't stay down for long if and when it does drop. True to form, it's always gone back up, sometimes as much as 6 months later and recently, many stations here in Seattle were at $4.40+ a Gal and now have dropped quite a bit, I "think" I saw it at $3.95 a Gal at a station today on my way home from work that a week ago was over $4 still. I think I paid just over $4 a gal on Friday at the Costco in N. Seattle. It cost me I think $45 to fill the tank at 8+ Gal's of gas in my '03 Mazda Protege 5 (14.5 Gal tank total) as I was down 3/4ths of a tank before starting a day trip to the farm town of Sedro-Woolley Washington. I knew that this year I was going to have to do something about my aging (and dying truck), I had a '92 Ford Ranger with 236K miles on the clock (verified) with issues, gas prices not withstanding, I also knew I needed to move into something more city friendly and had better mileage than the 4.0L Ranger ever got - and it wasn't bad for what it was, but at 16-22 tops mileage wise, I knew I needed to be able to get more than that as gas prices continued to go up. That said, I wished the Mazda got more than it does, but 22-28 is indeed better than the truck so I'm not complaining. Got 28mpg over the weekend, driving no faster than 80 or so, mostly sticking to 65-70mph as I drove over 300 miles all told last weekend. As others have said, many people obviously seem to be looking at the short term and I've always known that to be quite the short sited way to live and thus based my purchases on the longer haul, especially when it comes to cars. It doesn't hurt that the Mazda is not only reasonably frugal on gas (again, wish it were more than 30mpg highway, oh well) but also extremely fun to drive and 130hp feels more than plenty for most situations so I feel I have the best of both worlds right now and into the future until its time to replace it with something newer and with less miles (has jut over 113,700 miles on it now).

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    • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Jun 13, 2012

      @28-Cars-Later I probably could, supposedly, the last gen Focus uses the same drive train as this Mazda, though to be fair, it may be of the later 3, not the Protege and they also have a 4spd audobox like I have and I have friends who get in the 30's with the cruise on when going to one of their parent's place. Even the EPA says the P5 gets 22/28 on the current numbers, the 88 Honda Accord I once had got the exact same numbers, according to the EPA, not 24-32 like we all believed back in the day. Add to that, E10 gas isn't helping anything and that's what I have around here. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't know what the mileage was on the Mazda when I bought it, but then again, I was NOT expecting to actually buy that weekend, just reconnaissance shopping to get a feel for what's out there while I awaited word on my loan but figured at best 32mpg highway. This is a common complaint on Mazdas anyway, that is until the Skyactive motors came along. As for hypermiling, that's not something I care to do, I enjoy driving too much to drive slowly, just to eek out another gallon or two. The Mazda screams out to be driven and in a perfect world, I'd have bought the little Fiat 500, which is just as much fun, if not a bit more so than the Mazda which comes across a tad too buttoned down at times. At least with the Fiat, I don't have to work at it to get over 30mpg as the EPA is 30-38 and the real world mileage tends to trend closer to 32-40 without trying.

  • Skor Skor on Jun 13, 2012

    Most Americans equate small/reasonable cars with loser or worse, cheap b@stard. This will not change until the American economy suffers a collapse on par with what happened in Germany in 1946. As for the "free market" fanboiz, who don't want the gubmint to tell them what to do, if we had a truly free global oil market, you'd be paying $15 a gallon. What do think is the purpose of America's 11 carrier battle groups? To bring freedom and democracy to goat herders living in Lower Slobovia? Those carriers are what keeps you in the F350 you jacked 12 feet in the air. Just imagine if we had a free oil economy. Why those pesky Iranians might start to think they were free to charge the Chinese $25 a barrel while demanding $400 a barrel from the US of 'Merica. Where do they get off thinking that they have that kind of freedom? BTW, how did OUR oil get under their sand anyway?