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Fuel economy of new vehicles at all-time high

ANN ARBOR—Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States is at its highest level ever, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased in March was 24.6 mpg, up 0.2 mpg from the revised figures for both January and February—the previous highs. Last month's mark is 4.5 mpg higher than in October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued their monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During January, the EDI crept up to 0.83—its highest level since last summer (the lower the value, the better). Still, the index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 17 percent, overall, since October 2007.

 

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