The fuel economy of the average vehicle sold in the U.S. last year increased by a half mile per gallon over 2010 – in the process savings American motorists a collective 214 million gallons – or $722 million at the pump — according to new research.
The typical vehicle got 22.2 miles per gallon, reported data tracking service TrueCar.com, up from 21.7 mpg in 2010.
But there was a wide disparity among manufacturers. Chrysler, which is heavily dependent on vehicles like the big Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, averaged just 19.9 mpg a 0.2 mpg increase year-over-year. Korean carmaker Hyundai, which sells several crossover/utes but no truck models, averaged 26.6 mpg, a 1.3 mile per gallon gain.
Hyundai has been heavily promoting the mileage of its vehicles, four different models now rated by the EPA at over 40 mpg, and that “is right up there with design and with improvements in driving dynamics for boosting our sales,” said Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, referring to the 20% jump in demand the company reported in 2011.