New Car Average Fuel Consumption Reaches 52.5mpg

The fuel efficiency of new cars has risen by 29.3% over the last 10 years to its current average of 52.5mpg, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT has produced a graph illustrating the change. It is interesting to note how the rate of change has accelerated as governments across Europe have introduced financial incentives for motorists to run cars with lower CO2 emissions.

In mid-2007, it seems that car manufacturers suddenly discovered that they could reduce fuel consumption dramatically if they wanted to…

Graph showing how fuel consumption figures for new cars have improved over the last 10 years (courtesy of SMMT)

However, improvements in fuel consumption are not enough to drive new car sales – the SMMT reported that the car market is still trending below pre-recession levels, despite fairly stable sales this year:

  • Registrations in November at 134,027 units were down 4.2%. This marked the ninth decline this year, although registrations were up in both August and October.
  • Supported by the fleet market and consumers investing in industry’s most efficient products, diesel cars achieved a record 55.6% share of the market in November, whilst alternatively-fuelled cars took a record 1.6% market share.
  • The Ford Fiesta remained the best selling model in both November and over the year-to-date.
  • The Dual Purpose segment rose by 18.5% in November, boosted by the success of new models. The largest segment, Superminis, saw a modest fall but their market share rose to 34.6%, from 33.9% a year ago.
I’ve long believed that the only way to force manufacturers and drivers to use less fuel is to make it very expensive, but the reality of the process is that it is painful, slow and unpopular. It’s good to see that car manufacturers are at last starting to make more of a contribution to help motorists cut the cost of motoring.

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