2011 Sees Surge in 40 MPG Cars

Sales of high-MPG, non-hybrid cars soaring in USA.

Published: 16-Jan-2012

If given a choice, the vast majority of car buyers will excitedly opt for terrific fuel economy rather than simply tolerating decent fuel economy. In the past year, a handful of new non-hybrid cars hit dealer lots capable of getting 40 mpg. Sometimes only a certain trim level can actually achieve that mileage number — usually only in highway mileage — but the models overall stand head and shoulders above cars that narrowly miss that important 40 mpg barrier.

The slightest difference in highway efficiency earns one nameplate a huge advantage over its rivals when it comes to sales volume. 2011s numbers seem to prove it.

As individual models, these affordable, highly efficient small cars are attracting buyers at a furious rate. Ford Focus sales were up 12% in December. The Chevrolet Cruze reported a 53% improvement in December. A smaller Chevy, the Sonic, was up 42% compared with the Aveo's — the model it replaced — December 2010 performance. December sales of the Hyundai Accent shot up 91%. Though Elantra sales basically remained level in December, Hyundai's compact was up 41% overall in 2011.

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