An energy management control strategy for a parallel hybrid electric vehicle based on the extremum-seeking method for splitting torque between the internal combustion engine and electric motor is proposed in this paper. The control strategy has two levels of operation: the upper and lower levels. The upper level decision-making controller chooses the vehicle operation mode such as the simultaneous use of the internal combustion engine and electric motor, use of only the electric motor, use of only the internal combustion engine, or regenerative braking. In the simultaneous use of the internal combustion engine and electric motor, the optimum energy distribution between these two sources of energy is determined via the extremum-seeking algorithm that searches for maximum drivetrain efficiency. A dynamic programming solution is also obtained and used to form a benchmark for performance evaluation of the proposed method based on extremum seeking. Detailed simulations using a realistic model are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the methodology.