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U.S. fuel economy down last year

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Posted January 8, 2016

Fuel economy of vehicles sold in calendar year 2015 fell slightly compared to 2014, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. last year dropped to 25.3, down 0.1 from the value for the vehicles sold in 2014. During December, fuel economy was 24.9 mpg—down 0.2 mpg from the revised value for November.

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

Overall, fuel economy is down 0.9 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 4.8 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 October, the EDI rose to 0.84 (the lower the value, the better) from 0.83 in September. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 16 percent, overall, since October 2007—but 6 percent higher than the record low reached in August 2014.

Source: University of Michigan

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