For the fifth consecutive year, Mazda is the industry leader for fuel economy on the North American continent. This is according to a new report produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States, based on analysis of data from 2016 model-year vehicles.
The EPA ranking is based on manufacturer adjusted fuel economy. This consists of average fuel consumption (city and highway) of all of a company’s vehicles in one year, with the results weighted for sales volume. This method ensures that an auto manufacturer, even if it produces several “green” vehicles, will see its results suffer due to the presence of big fuel-hungry vehicles in its lineup.
The total average fuel consumption figure for Mazda was 29.6 miles per gallon (mpg), an improvement of 0.4 mpg in comparison with the 2015 model-year. All of its vehicles benefit from the SKYACTIV technology for engines, transmissions, body and chassis. And while the company has no hybrid models in its lineup, it also doesn’t offer any V6 or V8 models. Even its heftiest model, the CX-9 large crossover, runs on a 4-cylinder turbo.
Behind the Japanese automaker, Hyundai climbed from 5th to 2nd place for manufacturer fuel economy; it was followed by Honda, Subaru and Nissan – with ratings varying from 28.8 mpg to 27.9 mpg. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brings up the rear of the list, behind General Motors and Ford. That the three American manufacturers rank where they do is unsurprising, given that they produce and sell mainly SUVs and trucks.
The EPA report notes that, in general, vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are lower than ever before – this in spite of the increasing popularity of SUVs. Improved fuel efficiency combined with relatively unchanged average weight and power output are in large part behind the improvement, along with the more widespread use of direct injection systems.