ANN ARBOR — The fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States has topped 24 miles per gallon for the first time ever, 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 March was 24.1 mpg, up from 23.9 in February and 23.6 in January, and now 20 percent (4 mpg) higher than October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
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 January, the EDI stood at 0.83, an improvement from 0.86 in December (the lower the value, the better). The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 17 percent, overall, since October 2007.
Finally, Sivak and Schoettle report for the first time the unadjusted Corporate Average Fuel Economy performance. This index is based on a different set of EPA ratings than window-sticker values.
For March, unadjusted CAFE performance was 29.6 mpg, an increase of 20 percent (4.9 mpg) since October 2007.