Legacy brands such as Stellantis, Ford, and General Motors scored the worst.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Annual Automotive Trends Report this week. The data shows that America's new vehicle automotive fleet fuel efficiency remained flat throughout the 2021 model year, with a real-world average figure of 25.4 mpg.
This, says the EPA, is the same as in 2020, but the government agency estimates the average will rise to 26.4 mpg in 2022. The fact that the average mpg figure remains the same this year can be attributed to increased SUV and truck sales compared to passenger cars.
While the average fuel economy hasn't improved over the past year, the EPA notes that, since MY2004, the average fuel economy figure has increased by 6.1 mpg (32%). New vehicle real-world CO2 emissions also fell to a record low of 347 grams per mile.
Tesla, the purveyor of the Model S, leads the field with the equivalent of 123.9 mpg. Japanese automaker Subaru occupies second place (28.8 mpg) and is followed closely by rivals Kia (28.7 mpg) and Nissan (28.6 mpg).
Luxury brands Mercedes-Benz and BMW achieved an average of 23.6 mpg and 25.8 mpg, respectively. Hyundai scored 28.5 mpg, beating rivals like Honda (28.1 mpg) and Toyota (27.1 mpg). Disappointingly, the big American car companies and Stellantis scored the worst, occupying the bottom three positions.
Stellantis - which comprises a host of brands (including Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep) - is the worst offender, with an average of 21.3 mpg. General Motors didn't fare much better, at 21.6 mpg, while Ford managed 22.9 mpg.
We expect the marques mentioned above to improve their figures significantly in the coming years. Speaking to Reuters, Stellantis said the latest data does "not reflect our current or future product plan." The multinational automaker has accelerated plans to tackle electrification and aims to introduce 25 electric vehicles - like the Recon and Wagoneer S - in the US by the decade's end.
The study uncovered some other interesting tidbits. In 2013, traditional sedans and wagons accounted for 50% of vehicle sales in the United States. Cut to 2021, and that figure has fallen to 26%, further signaling the death of the once-popular segments. Truck-based SUVs now account for 45% of sales.
Unsurprisingly, this has had an effect elsewhere. The average vehicle weight in 2021 hit a portly 4,289 lbs, and horsepower figures are higher than ever.