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Gas mileage at lowest point this year

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Posted November 10, 2015

Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. dropped for the third straight month and is now at its lowest point in any month this year, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

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Average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in October was 25.0 mpg, down 0.2 mpg from September.

“This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in October, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks and SUVs,” said Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI.

Overall, fuel economy is down 0.8 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but up 4.9 mpg from October 2007—the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and colleague Brandon Schoettle.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a 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 the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During August, the EDI improved to 0.81 (the lower the value, the better) after holding steady at 0.82 for three straight months. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 19 percent, overall, since October 2007. EDI reached its best level (0.78) in August 2014.

Source: University of Michigan

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