Automakers set a record in 2014 for the highest-ever industry wide average fuel economy at 24.8 MPG, The Detroit News reports, however Fiat Chrysler had the lowest average fuel economy among its peers at 20.8 MPG.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the automotive industry saw average fuel economy gains of 0.2 MPG in 2014 from 2013. The gains might have been higher, however advances made in hybrid and electrification technologies were mildly offset by increased demand for trucks and SUVs. Despite higher demand for gas guzzling vehicles, the industry still widely exceeded federal targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
The Detroit Big Three, whose businesses all rely heavily on full-size pickup and SUV sales, trailed European and Japanese automakers in average fuel economy. Ford and General Motors vehicles were the most efficient domestics with a tied average of 22.3 MPG, followed by FCA. In a prepared statement, FCA says it continues “to invest in relevant and effective technologies” and maintains a “commitment to developing and producing vehicles that are increasingly fuel-efficient and compliant.”
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has voiced his resentment towards hybrid electric vehicles in the past, justifying his sentiments by saying they are expensive to develop and don’t sell as well as their gasoline powered counterparts.
“The costs are significant,” Marchionne said in October. “It’s a question of being paid for all the technology going in. Everybody has had these wonderful ideas about the fact that battery costs per kilowatt hours would drastically drop.we haven’t seen it yet; I think it may be overly optimistic.”
FCA’s first hybrid vehicle, a plug-in version of the next-generation Town & Country minivan, is expected to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Sales of the hybrid van will be used to gauge consumer interest in hybrid and electric vehicles and will play a role in deciding how much FCA will invest in hybrid and electrification technologies in the immediate future.