Gas mileage of new vehicles at all-time high

February 14, 2012 By Bernie DeGroat

( -- Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States last month was at its highest mark ever, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy of cars, , minivans and SUVs purchased in January was 23.0 , which ties the all-time monthly record set in March 2011. It is also up 4 percent (0.8 ) from December—the highest monthly increase since UMTRI researchers began tracking fuel economy in late 2007.

According to Michael Sivak, research professor and head of UMTRI's Human Factors Group, average fuel economy of all new vehicles bought last month was up 0.5 mpg from a year ago and is now 2.5 mpg higher than four years ago in January 2008.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and UMTRI colleague Brandon 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 and distance driven---the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During November 2011, the EDI stood at 0.86, up from 0.85 in October, but down from 0.87 in September. The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 14 percent since October 2007.

Explore further: New Eco-Driving Index: Environmental impact of new vehicles improving

More information:

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( -- After two months of increases, the average fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States fell by a half mile per gallon last month, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation ...

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1 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2012
Hmmm. This article doesn't seem to pass the common sense test to me. Can someone tell me why the 1989 Ford Festiva got 39mpg, while a car with that kind of mileage today has to be a hybrid? If car mileage has gone up the 2.5mpg/4 years, shouldn't the fuel efficient cars today have milages in the 50-55mph range that aren't hybrid, and even greater range for those that are?
not rated yet Feb 14, 2012
Dichotomy: I think its generally agreed that cars have gotten more sophisticated over time, or maybe even heavier. Government mandates on safety have added features that either use power or weigh more than before, which reduces gas mileage. Just looking at the Honda Civic, the hybrid is almost 200lbs more than the gas version.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
Then we have to consider people that have stopped driving SUVs and other gas guzzlers and are now driving smaller cars -- especially hybrids like the Toyota Prius. My gas mileage has gone from about 20 MPG with the Buick Park Avenue I had to roughly 57 MPG with the Toyota Prius that I now drive. So it makes a difference for some who have more than doubled their gas mileage, and when that is averaged into gas efficiency of the overall driving population an improvement is bound to be evident.
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2012
23mpg? AVERAGE? Holy cow. Who makes automobiles in the states? Do they just throw the gasoline off the rear end and use the impulse to drive their cars?
1 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2012
You can't just look at MPG... you have to look at miles per gallon per pound of vehicle. It's true that engines have become much more efficient, it is also true that vehicles have gotten much larger, heavier, and power hungry. These two serve to cancel each other out when measuring MPG.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
23mpg? AVERAGE? Holy cow. Who makes automobiles in the states? Do they just throw the gasoline off the rear end and use the impulse to drive their cars?

It's not like they can't make better cars. I don't think they're interested in making them right now.

I may be wrong on this but I also don't think they're that much into small supercharged diesel and 3-4 cylinder 1.x liter engines just yet.
0.1 / 5 (35) Feb 14, 2012
Didn't the original Model T get around 25 MPG?
1 / 5 (4) Feb 14, 2012
this is a joke article. there has been an enormous gain in efficiency ....but it is because people aren't driving. gas consumption has radically dropped in the past 3 years.

prices stay the same due to financial market manipulation.

the efficiency of automobiles hasn't changed all that much as you are just selling 1 year of cars into an existing over hang of 20 years worth of cars already on the road.
are new cars more efficient? of course they are more efficient. does this mean they are burning less gas no---people might be driving their new cars more than ever. it is the old cars that are just not being used because most people are just not taking unnecessary trips anymore. and more necessary trips are unecessary as jobs are lost and retail sales drop off a cliff.

no one is fooled by the jobs reports about the economy and fake unemployment numbers. gas consumption numbers tell the real story that people all know deep down.

not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
"there has been an enormous gain in efficiency" - ClapTrap

According to Ford Motor Company, the Model T had fuel economy on the order of 13 to 21 mpg-US (16 to 25 mpg-imp; 18 to 11 L/100 km). The engine was capable of running on petrol, kerosene, or ethanol

not rated yet Feb 19, 2012
Yes the only worthy metric is miles per gallon per pound. For example, a Prius gets real world 40 mpg and weighs 3000 lbs (very heavy for the size because of the batteries).

Yet a Chevy Suburban weighing 6000lbs gets 20 mpg.

So...essentially...a Prius and a Suburban...have the same energy efficiency!!
not rated yet Feb 22, 2012
Santorum says this is the work of Satan.

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