By Sean Gagnier, Crain News Service
DETROIT (Sept. 11, 2013) — The average fuel economy of new trucks, cars, SUVs and vans sold in August reached 24.9 mpg, up 0.1 mpg from July, according to a monthly report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The average is the highest since researchers began collecting data in October 2007.
The average fuel economy of 2013 new vehicles sold in the U.S. from October 2012 through August was 24.7 mpg, up 1.2 mpg compared with 2012 model vehicles, said the report from researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
Mr. Schoettle, project manager at the institute, said in an email that new-vehicle fuel economy has been fairly stable for several months.
The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in August rose 4.8 mpg since October 2007.
Mr. Schoettle said he does not expect a large change in the average fuel economy of new vehicles next month unless the price of gasoline changes significantly.
The researchers say that trends indicate the fuel economy of 2013 models should finish significantly above that of 2012 models. Mr. Schoettle said the 2013 models' 1.2 mpg increase so far over 2012 models is the highest jump since 2007.
Average sales-weighted fuel economy was calculated from the monthly sales of individual models and the combined city-highway fuel economy ratings from the EPA Fuel Economy Guide for each model.
The university's national Eco-Driving Index—which calculates the average monthly greenhouse gas emissions from a U.S. driver who bought a new vehicle during the month—held steady at 0.81 for the second consecutive month in June. A lower index score is better, and the scores are compared with a base score of 1 in October 2007, when the researchers began collecting data.
"This value indicates an improvement of 19 percent since October 2007," Mr. Sivak said in the email. "The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving."
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.