Operation 54.5 in progress for automakers

|By:, SA News Editor

The EPA says the average fuel efficiency of vehicles in the U.S. improved to 24 mpg last year.

Subaru (FUJHY), Volkswagen (VLKAY), and Mazda (MZDAY) topped the list with fleet-wide averages of 26 mpg or better.

Chrysler (FIATY), General Motors (GM), and Ford (F) all fell below the industry average due to their higher mix of pickups trucks, while Daimler (DDAIF) kept luxury a priority over slashing weight.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) boasts a gaudy equivalent efficiency rating of 89 mpg, but didn't sell enough cars to land in the rankings.

What to watch: The U.S. government wants each automaker to boast a fleet average of 54.5 mpg or better by 2025. If those regulations stands, it will create a need for a higher mix of vehicles powered by electric and fuel cell technology as moves like Ford's to build F-150s with aluminum won't be enough to swing the averages far enough north.