The US auto market is still booming and the fact that gasoline prices remain very low has triggered a resurgence in the sales of larger pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles – they accounted for at least 56 percent of the total of vehicles sold across the United States.
The researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute are now pointing the mix is having a negative influence over the statistics of fuel economy numbers for new cars and light trucks sold in the country. In April, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average fuel economy of cars, light trucks, vans and utility vehicles acquired was down from 25.4 miles per gallon in March to 25.2 miles per gallon. “This drop likely reflects the increased proportion of pickup trucks and SUVs in the sales mix,” commented Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI. The average fuel economy across the US has also gone down from its peak registered in August 2014 by 0.6 miles per gallon – coinciding with the period of booming sales of trucks and SUVs and of low gasoline prices.
Overall, since October 2007, when the UMTRI researchers started to monitor the average fuel economy, the figure has progressed by 5.1 miles per gallon. Meanwhile for the current model year (October 2014 through April 2015) has remained level with the same period last year at 25.3 mpg. The researchers also presented their findings for the Eco-Driving Index (EDI), an estimate of the average monthly emissions of US drivers – which remained the same as the preceding month at 0.82 (the lower values are better).