Fuel economy stayed flat last month in the US image

According to the latest average fuel-economy data for new cars released by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, the figures stayed the same as in January.

With record levels of auto sales in the United States last year, driven mainly by low fuel prices, it would be expected for the average fuel-economy to go down and buyers not to be so focused on the fuel efficiency of their new cars. However, gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the US rose for the first time in eight months during January, said researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The average fuel economy increased in the first month of the year to 25.2 mpg from 24.9 mpg in December, the first time it fell below 25.0 mpg in nearly two years. The reason behind the January improvement “likely reflects the month-to-month seasonal decrease in sales of pickup trucks and SUVs,” said Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI.

As for February, the gas mileage remained unchanged during the month, the latest data released by the Institute shows. The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold last month was again 25.2 mpg. Overall, fuel economy is down 0.6 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.1 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by the researchers.

In addition to average fuel economy, UMTRI issued a monthly update of its national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual US 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 December, the EDI increased to its worst level in four years to 0.85 (the lower the value, the better) from a mark of 0.82 in November. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 15 percent overall, since October 2007, but 7 percent higher than the record low reached in August 2014.