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Fuel economy in the U.S. drops from recent high

ANN ARBOR—Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. slipped last month for the first time this year, 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 April was 24.5 mpg, according to UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

"This value is down 0.1 mpg from the record high reached in March, likely reflecting the recent decrease in the price of gasoline," Sivak said. "Despite this small drop, the fuel economy is up 4.4 mpg since October 2007—the first month of our monitoring."

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 February, the EDI improved to 0.82 from 0.83 the month before (the lower the value, the better). The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007.

 

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