The average fuel economy of new light vehicles sold in the United States in March surged to 25.4 mpg, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. The fuel economy of new US vehicles sold in March was 0.3 mpg higher than the revised figure for February. According to a monthly report from the university’s Transportation Research Institute, the March 2014 figure is also 5.3 mpg higher than the average in October 2007, when the researchers first started obtaining fuel economy data.
Researchers calculated average sales-weighted fuel economy was calculated using the monthly sales of individual models as well as the combined city-highway fuel economy ratings from the EPA Fuel Economy Guide for each model. The institute's national Eco-Driving Index was 0.80 in January.
The index measures the monthly greenhouse gas emissions from a driver in the US who purchase a new vehicle during the month.
The scores are compared with a base score of 1 in October 2007; the lower the index score, the better. Researcher Michael Sivak said in a statement that a 0.80 index means an improvement of 20 percent from October 2007, noting that it considers both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving. He said the reduction indicates the drop in distance driven by US drivers and the improvement in fuel economy.
According to the research, 2012 US fuel consumption was 394 gallons per person; 584 gallons per licensed driver; 1,021 gallons per household; and 529 gallons per registered vehicle.
The figures were 13 percent to 18 percent lower than in 2003 (peak year for registered vehicles) and 2004 (other measures). Sivak remarked that study shows there are fewer light-duty vehicles that are driven less and consumes less fuel than in the past.