2015, which negatively impacted our reported results of operations. On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which a majority voted to exit the European Union (“Brexit”). The British Pound has weakened since the Brexit vote, with an average exchange rate of British Pounds to U.S. Dollars of 1.36 for 2016 compared to 1.53 in 2015, a decrease of 11.3%. Foreign currency average rate reductions decreased revenue and gross profit by $827.0 million and $107.6 million, respectively, in 2016. Foreign currency average rate reductions also reduced earnings per share from continuing operations by approximately $0.18 per share in 2016. Excluding the impact of foreign currency average rate reductions, revenue and gross profit increased 8.6% and 7.2%, respectively, in 2016.
Our selling expenses consist of advertising and compensation for sales personnel, including commissions and related bonuses. General and administrative expenses include compensation for administration, finance, legal and general management personnel, rent, insurance, utilities and other expenses. As the majority of our selling expenses are variable, and we believe a significant portion of our general and administrative expenses are subject to our control, we believe our expenses can be adjusted over time to reflect economic trends.
Floor plan interest expense relates to financing incurred in connection with the acquisition of new and used vehicle inventories that is secured by those vehicles. Other interest expense consists of interest charges on all of our interest-bearing debt, other than interest relating to floor plan financing and includes interest relating to our retail commercial truck dealership and commercial vehicle distribution operations. The cost of our variable rate indebtedness is based on the prime rate, defined London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the Bank of England Base Rate, the Finance House Base Rate, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, the Canadian Prime Rate, or the Australian or New Zealand Bank Bill Swap Rate (“BBSW”).
Equity in earnings of affiliates represents our share of the earnings from our investments in joint ventures and other non-consolidated investments, including PTL.
During the first quarter of 2015, we divested our car rental business that included Hertz car rental franchises in the Memphis, Tennessee market and certain markets throughout Indiana in light of our perceived inability to grow that business. The results of operations of our car rental business are included in discontinued operations for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014.
The results of our commercial vehicle distribution business in Australia and New Zealand are principally driven by the number and types of products and vehicles ordered by our customers.
The future success of our business is dependent upon, among other things, general economic and industry conditions, our ability to consummate and integrate acquisitions, the level of vehicle sales in the markets where we operate, our ability to increase sales of higher margin products, especially service and parts services, our ability to realize returns on our significant capital investment in new and upgraded dealership facilities, the success of our distribution of commercial vehicles, engines, and power systems and the return realized from our investments in various joint ventures and other non-consolidated investments. See Item 1A. “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” below.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires the application of accounting policies that often involve making estimates and employing judgments. Such judgments influence the assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses recognized in our financial statements. Management, on an ongoing basis, reviews these estimates and assumptions. Management may determine that modifications in assumptions and estimates are required, which may result in a material change in our results of operations or financial position.
The following are the accounting policies applied in the preparation of our financial statements that management believes are most dependent upon the use of estimates and assumptions.