US: low gas price leads to stagnating new vehicle fuel ratings image

Researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute revealed that after years of improvement, the fuel economy of new vehicles bought by American consumers has stagnated in November.

The reasons are rather easy to understand – US sales of “gas guzzlers” – namely pickup trucks, large SUVs and crossovers have soared lately. That’s because the gas prices have seen incredible drops this year, putting the national average at a four-year low. And, even as automakers continue to make improvements across their lineups, a long drop in fuel prices is likely to trigger a mileage rating numbers decrease in the near future. The U-M researchers found that the average gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the US (window sticker only) has remained the same in November – at 25.3 mpg. This is the same figure recorded in September and October, but actually down from August when it was 25.8 mpg.

With the average price of regular gasoline way below the $3 mark, sales of less fuel-efficient models is forecasted to remain robust, with the immediate consequence of keeping at bay the average fuel rating. On the other hand, the rating for overall vehicle fuel economy has improved 5.2 mpg from October 2007, the first of monitoring for the U-M Institute.