By Isabella Shaya, Crain News Service
DETROIT (July 15, 2013) — The average fuel economy for new 2013 model light vehicles sold in the U.S. is 24.6 mpg, up 1.1 mpg from 2012 models, according to a monthly report from University of Michigan researchers.
New cars, vans, SUVs and pickups sold in June had an average fuel economy of 24.7 mpg, down 0.1 mpg from May, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
Mr. Schoettle, project manager at the university's Transportation Research Institute, said the drop from May to June might be linked to the increase in light-truck sales and a slight decrease in gasoline prices last month.
Fuel economy is up 4.6 mpg since October 2007, when researchers began collecting data.
The average sales-weighted fuel economy was determined using monthly sales of vehicle models and the combined city-highway fuel economy ratings for those models from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Fuel Economy Guide.
Mr. Schoettle said he expects fuel economy of 2013 light vehicles sold to post a 1-percent to 1.2-percent improvement over their 2012 counterparts as auto makers continue to meet consumer demand for better fuel economy when gasoline prices are high.
"The demand is there from consumers, and the auto companies seem to be doing their part to meet those demands," he said.
The university's national Eco-Driving Index, which evaluates the average monthly greenhouse gas emissions from a new U.S. vehicle bought during the month, rose to 0.82 in April from 0.81 in March. Lower scores are better, and are relative to a base index value of 1 in October 2007. The index has improved 18 percent since October 2007.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.