Fuel economy of new vehicles still at lowest point in the past year

October 10, 2011
Graph: University of Michigan

(PhysOrg.com) -- For the second straight month, the average fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remained the same, according to a researcher at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The average fuel economy of vehicles purchased in September was 22.1 , unchanged from August.

According to Michael Sivak, research professor and head of UMTRI's Human Factors Group, average fuel economy of all new vehicles bought last month is at its lowest level in the past year. In fact, average fuel economy for new vehicle purchases has trended downward since it hit a high of 23.0 mpg last March.

"This decrease is likely related to a slight drop in gas prices since spring, because people tend to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles when gas prices go up," Sivak said.

Despite being at a 12-month low, average fuel economy for new vehicles sold is still 2 mpg better than that just four years ago.

"Our analysis suggests this long-term improvement in vehicle fuel economy is associated with both and unemployment being higher now than four years ago," Sivak said.

From now on, Sivak and his colleague Brandon Schoettle will release monthly updates of the average fuel economy of vehicles purchased. They will also continue issuing monthly updates of their new national Eco-Driving Index (EDI), which estimates the average monthly amount of produced by an individual U.S. driver who purchased a new vehicle that month. EDI takes into account both the of the vehicle and the distance driven.

EDI currently shows that of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 14 percent since late 2007.

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

More information: Fuel economy calculations, along with a graph and table of current and recent MPGs

Eco-Driving Index calculations, along with a graph and table of current and recent values

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1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 10, 2011
Why is it that low?

There were 1980's model Toyota and Mazda trucks that got 30mpg.

Now maybe that might even have been some lucky, exceptional trucks, just my experience...

I realize that emissions standards have changed and there are stricter rules, but erm, how is it that after 15 or 20 years, the fuel economy is actually worse?

Now this says "average" which I assume might be weighted badly by people buying over-sized trucks and stuff like that, but still, this is ridiculous.
1.8 / 5 (16) Oct 10, 2011
I don't see why this is important. People are made to feel guilty about fuel economy and emissions all the time but really there is no need. There is plenty of oil in the ground and the carbon emissions are negligible compared with natural causes.
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 10, 2011
Yeah, I agree with george. Fuel economy isn't really the point here, it's more about how the quality of the cars.

Emission standards are only politically driven and have little practical importance.
1.9 / 5 (13) Oct 10, 2011
You guys are right. It annoys me when people associate greenhouse gasses with vehicle emissions. These emissions are completely negligible compared with not only natural forces but also with industrial activites.

From an environmental perspective emissions are irrelevant, but as long as people are willing to pay for the fuel there is no problem with fuel economy.
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 10, 2011
Haha, I love my gas guzzler. I guess the main reason is that there are quite a few people like me. And rightly so too, it's a free country so I should be able to drive wherever I like. These environmentalists are just worried about nothing.
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 10, 2011
Interesting, paid for stooges of some right-wing group yucking up lousy fuel economy. So where is the engineering challenge in crappy fuel economy. And also, oil is a commodity subject to the commodities market pricing. Not everyone can afford gas, like you guys can. You guys are so obviously trolls it isn't even funny.
3.5 / 5 (8) Oct 11, 2011
The graph shows how as fuel prices climb as a fraction of American income, Americans select more efficient vehicles.

This supports the view that in order for Americans to select a rational course of action, irrational courses of action must be made costly through artificial scarcity or regulation.

Like ignorant sheep, American consumers must be shepparded.

As Steve Jobs said... "It isn't the job of consumers to know what they want."

4.4 / 5 (7) Oct 11, 2011
There is plenty of oil in the ground
Yes, there's plenty of $200/bbl oil in the ground.
carbon emissions are negligible compared with natural causes
Human industrial carbon emissions eclipse natural carbon emission by more than a factor of 100x:

Emission standards are only politically driven and have little practical importance.
Emissions standards reduce smog and are vitally important to people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. High levels of air pollution negatively impact ecosystems, and will accumulate in food as well. Long-term CO2 imbalance leads to world-wide climate dislocation; the long-term economic damage is incalculably enormous.
These emissions are completely negligible compared with ... industrial activites.
"The transportation sector is the second largest source of CO2 emissions in the U.S."


3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2011
As expected there will be ones who are in position to enjoy every comfort and advantage known to man until the last second when the whole world will go to hell, and a whole bunch of lackeys who want to keep it that way for eternity...or until they push up grass. Why should they care? The dead can't hear.
1 / 5 (3) Oct 11, 2011
Perhaps this is due to people like me refusing to drive an underpowered 100 hp tin can? I'll take my 400 hp GTO, thank you. My 6.0L V8 still routinely gets 22 mpg, sometimes up to 25 haha
5 / 5 (3) Oct 11, 2011
I find it suprising really afterall better efficency means you need less fuel saving you money? Also less air polution is a nice bonus too.
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2011
Perhaps this is due to people like me refusing to drive an underpowered 100 hp tin can? I'll take my 400 hp GTO, thank you. My 6.0L V8 still routinely gets 22 mpg, sometimes up to 25 haha

Thanks for clearing things up. By the way, how often do you to use ALL that 400 hp? Passing a pensioner in a tin can, or do burn outs to impress the chicks perhaps? or do you unleash it on a race track? showing off does not make your testosterone level sky rocket, nor your third leg anymore impressive.
5 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2011
I get your point Plastic Power. Those GTOs where built when unions meant something. American Engineered, American built.
A time when Wall Street didn't have a say in how cars where built. I hope you don't use you GTO for back and forth to the grocery.

Performance wise; have you test dived a Chevy Volt? AWESOME! It reeks of power, tech, and green! Looks that could kill too!
It's GM at it finest IMHO.
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2011
How many horsed does it take to haul one ass? In America, apparently hundreds upon hundreds...
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 12, 2011
"Perhaps this is due to people like me refusing to drive an underpowered 100 hp tin can?" - american Carrot

Then you have no future on the road.
3.7 / 5 (15) Oct 12, 2011
Nice to see the "I don't give a rat's ass 'cause I'm gonna die wiping out on the road" crowd out and about.
not rated yet Oct 16, 2011
I own a large, commercial van that I drive for personal use. Weights about half as much as a big SUV, hauls triple the payload and get 26-29 mpg. Never had any problem with acceleration, either. Turbo diesels rock!
1 / 5 (5) Oct 17, 2011
Americans need powerful cars because they weigh twice as much as normal people. Take me for example, if I had just a little honda civic or something i'd hardly be able to get anywhere.
3.2 / 5 (11) Oct 17, 2011
Loosing weight is a much more cost effective solution. ;)

Spend less on both gas and food. :lol:
not rated yet Oct 24, 2011
my 2L 1990 Nissan Stanza (bluebird/pintara) gets 6L/100km (39.2MPG) on a highway, 12L/100km (19.6) in standstill traffic...

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