US average fuel economy drops by 0.2 mpg to 25.2 mpg in April 2015

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 8, 2015

Due to higher sales of trucks and SUVs in the U.S. in April, the University of Michigan researchers observed a 0.2 mpg decline in the average fuel economy of light vehicles sold in the U.S. From 25.4 in March, the figure in April fell to 25.2 mpg. Researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle based the report on the average window-sticker value of new cars, SUVs, vans and pickups sold in the U.S.

According to a statement from the researchers, this decrease indicates the bigger proportion of pickup trucks and SUVs in total sales. April 2015 is the 15th straight month that there has been at least 25 mpg calculated for the average fuel economy in the U.S. The report pointed out that from the first full month that the average fuel economy was monitored in October 2007, the figure had gone up 5.1 mpg.

However, the average fuel economy of 25.3 mpg in the October 2014 - April 2015 period (which makes up the first seven months of the model year) has not changed compared to the same period the previous year. When interviewed last month, Schoettle said that fuel economy is expected to increase as the model year concludes.

He said that typically on the sixth month, fuel economy goes up from the previous year. The fuel economy of April 2015 was 0.6 mpg lower compared to August, when a 25.8 mpg record was achieved. Since that time, January marks the first month that fuel economy had increased. It stayed unchanged at 25.3 mpg from September to November.

The fuel economy in December decreased to 25 before increasing to 25.4 in January and declining to 25.2 in February. The institute also conducted another study – the University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index. It monitored the average monthly greenhouse gas emissions of every new-vehicle driver in the U.S. for the month of February.

The study observed an index of 0.82, unmoved from January, which indicates that the average new-vehicle driver produced 18% less emission in February 2015 compared to October 2007, when researchers began checking the emissions.

Getting a lower score is preferred. The study assigned a base score of 1 from October 2007, which is when the data collection started. The index used by Sivak and Schoettle was based on the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving (which is derived from information published with a two-month delay).

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