ANN ARBOR—Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. last month reached its highest level since August 2014, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) in July was 25.4 mpg—up 0.3 mpg from June and just 0.1 mpg less than the peak of 25.5 mpg three years ago.
"This increase likely reflects the decreased proportion of light trucks in the sales mix in July compared to June," said Michael Sivak, research professor at UMTRI.
Overall, fuel economy is up by 5.3 mpg since October 2007—the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a 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 May, the EDI improved to 0.82 (the lower the value, the better)—down from 0.84 the month before. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007—but 4 percentage points higher than the record low reached in November 2013.