Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remains at its highest level ever, while emissions are at a record low, 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 November was 24.1 mpg, the same as in October and up from 23.8 in September and a full mile per gallon better than a year ago. The record-tying mark is a 20 percent increase (4.0 mpg) from October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
The improvement in fuel economy over the last five years corresponds to a 17 percent reduction in fuel consumption (gallons per mile).
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 September, the EDI dipped to a record 0.80, down from 0.81 in both August and July and down from 0.86 a year ago (the lower the value, the better). The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 20 percent, overall, since October 2007.
Explore further: Fuel economy of new vehicles continues to rise