After a slow start during the winter due to the harsh weather, US sales picked up massively in April and especially last month, when all predictions were thrown off the roof.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales went up to a forecasted 16.77 million vehicles, as almost all automakers – even recall-battered GM – thoroughly exceeded the most optimistic predictions.

And, although among the best-selling models were many pickup trucks utility vehicles, according to a study made by the University of Michigan the average fuel economy of new cars sold in May was also on the rise.

Last month’s value exceeded by 0.4 mpg the one recorded in April, with an average fuel economy of 25.6 mpg (9.18 l/100 km), just as the average gasoline price last year – $3.64 per gallon – has been relatively high judging by historical statistics.

Besides that, the University also has a separate – but related – Eco-Driving Index, which is used as an estimate to value a US individual driver’s average monthly polluting emissions, stood in May at 0.78 – which is a 22% improvement over the value registered in October 2007.


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