WASHINGTON – Mazda was the most fuel-efficient brand in the 2014 model year, outpacing the domestic automakers, according to a new Fuel Economy Trends report from the EPA.
The Japanese automaker posted a 29.4 mpg average on the strength of such vehicles as the Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and Mazda CX-5, which are equipped with fuel-saving Skyactiv Technology.
The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, CX-3 and 2017 Mazda CX-9 also feature the technology. The CX-9 will be equipped with a new Skyactiv 2.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine.
Mazda also had the lowest CO2 emissions.
Following Mazda in the EPA rankings are Subaru, which came in 2nd at 27.6 mpg and Hyundai at 27.5 mpg.
Honda and Nissan were in the top five in the rankings.
Fiat-Chrysler had the lowest fuel economy, followed by GM, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, the report said.
BMW posted the biggest fuel economy improvement from model-year 2013 to model-year 2014.
In terms of the big picture, the EPA said overall fuel economy of new cars and trucks remained “steady” at 24.3 mpg in model-year 2014.
Truck fuel economy reached a record high of 20.4 mpg, a 0.6-mpg increase from last year and the second largest increase in 30 years.
“However, on a fleet-wide basis, this higher truck fuel economy was offset by a 5 percent increase in truck market share,” the EPA noted.
Fueled by low gasoline prices, car shoppers are showing continued strong demand for pickups, crossovers and SUVs.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the U.S. stood at $2 on Thursday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
The federal government has set a fleet-wide fuel economy target of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The report also noted that tailpipe emissions of new vehicles continued to get cleaner, beating their targets for the second year in a row.
Model-year 2015 data will not be available until next year’s report, the EPA said.
Edmunds says: Mazda deserves a lot of credit for going to the head of the fuel-efficiency class without selling a hybrid or electric vehicle.