Vehicle fuel economy up for the first time since March

September 6, 2012

ANN ARBOR—Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States is up for the first time in five months, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased in August was 23.8 mpg, the fourth-best month on record and an 18 percent increase (3.7 mpg) from October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

The improvement from July to August—0.2 mpg—most likely reflects the increased price of gasoline, they say.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued their monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both vehicle fuel economy and distance driven—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During June, the EDI remained unchanged at 0.82, tying May as the third-best month on record—up slightly from 0.81 registered in February and April of this year (the lower the value, the better). The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007.


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