As gas prices rise, Americans continue to speak with their wallets.

New car fuel economy levels in the U.S. reached a record high for the third straight month in March, reflecting efforts by the American public to curb refueling spending by buying more hybrids and four-cylinder cars, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

March's new cars averaged 24.1 miles per gallon, up from 23.9 miles per gallon in February, UMTRI said. Overall, newly purchased 2012 model-year vehicles are averaging 23.4 miles per gallon, up from the 2011 model-year average of 22.5 mpg. Fuel-efficiency numbers are up 13 percent from 2008, when vehicles had an average fuel economy of 20.8 miles per gallon.

The fuel-economy figures reflect efforts by Americans to buy less thirsty vehicles to combat rising gas prices, which are up about 60 cents a gallon since the beginning of the year and are approaching the $4 level.

In March, both Toyota and General Motors set monthly U.S. sales records with their Prius hybrid and Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicles, respectively. Other models experiencing a surge in sales included the Nissan Leaf battery-electric and Volkswagen's diesel models.

*UPDATE: Using its own metrics, TrueCar calculates the average fuel economy to be 23.4. See the release after the jump.
Show full PR text
Average Fuel Economy for New Cars Sold In March 2012 Rises To 23.4 MPG According to TrueCar.com's TrueMPG
Industry Average Fuel Economy Rises 3.1 MPG From March 2008

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 12, 2012 – TrueCar.com, the authority on new car pricing, trends and forecasting, today provided actual fuel economy numbers from March light vehicle auto sales that indicate TrueMPGTM increased to 23.4 mpg in March 2012 compared to 22.0 mpg in March 2011, and increased from February 2012 at 23.2 mpg. Just four years ago, in March 2008, TrueMPG was 20.3 mpg.

"Gas prices are nearing $4 per gallon nationwide and consumers are getting reluctant to pay any additional money at the pump when buying a new vehicle," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Market Intelligence at TrueCar.com. "Consumer buying behavior has shifted and vehicles today are more fuel-efficient than ever, contributing to significant gains in fuel economy of over three miles per gallon since 2008."

Below is how the top seven manufacturers fared comparing overall mpg, broken out by car and truck mpg:

Average TrueMPG
Average Car TrueMPG
Average Truck TrueMPG
Manufacturer
Mar-12
Mar-11
Change
Mar-12
Mar-11
Change
Mar-12
Mar-11
Change
Chrysler
19.7
18.8
0.9
22.8
21.5
1.3
18.1
18.0
0.1
Ford
22.4
21.0
1.3
26.8
25.2
1.6
19.7
18.7
0.9
GM
21.6
20.9
0.7
25.3
24.2
1.1
19.0
18.7
0.3
Honda
25.4
24.1
1.3
28.6
27.1
1.5
22.8
21.2
1.6
Hyundai/Kia
28.1
26.0
2.1
29.7
27.4
2.3
23.7
23.5
0.2
Nissan
23.9
23.3
0.7
26.5
25.5
0.9
20.4
20.2
0.2
Toyota
25.4
23.4
2.0
30.9
28.2
2.7
19.5
18.8
0.6
Industry
23.4
22.0
1.4


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      @mylexicon Well thought out, thought provoking, so downvoted many times. People are open minded, as long as you say stuff they agree with.
      Ford Future
      • 6 Months Ago
      Sorry EZEE, I've never heard of Alinsky. Some Democrat's know him as you've proved. I have to agree with the other poster: FDR is the model of the Progressive Movement. I guess "liberal" now means "realist", as in not a denialist: Peak Oil or Global Warming. If the Business community would get their act together, many new "liberals" could go back to calling themselves "Conservative".
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      due to free market and profit motive auto cos. will always push whatever gives them most cushion or profit margin...it isn't new hybrids. it is the most giant bloated gaudy in your face tanks/hemis etc....you are a fool if you do this now...but the one thing US has plenty of is fools. one born a minute. most free market cheerleaders didnt get to be wealthy by following herd. but they will tell rest to follow the herd...if one like buffett tells the truth he is ignored....US is now swimming naked. we rely totally on 'cheap' oil from countries who dont like us..our chief competitor makes all our modern 'stuff'. period USING oil etc. SHIPPED here using oil after getting raw materials shipped THERE using oil in factories mostly using COAL.... I drive 50 mpg hybrid...but societal collapse is inevitable imho..the ONLY option is constant distraction like wars for supposed ideological reasons or other made up bs to distract from finiteness of it all....which everybody with a brain supposedly humans and higher order abilities should be able to surmise by now capital flows always to where it will get the greatest return. oil cos. will do same. if china pays more ship it there. they dont give a sh*( how much you pay at the pump...especially in US which is a 'captured' market. big oil owns govt. and you have no choice. period. dollar is same. it is why mittens got rich. shipping US jobs with those inconvenient unions and living wages etc....overseas to places with no environmental regs etc to seek greatest return. china is doing same. many jobs going to vietnam overseen by chinese owners. then where? maybe full circle and back to US with even CHEAPER labor if GOP get their wish.....and ironically corporations united will brainwash enough people into kicking their OWN a*(. and then throw in a bunch of patriotic gobblydegook hogwash take one for the team propaganda....which is total baloney/malarkey. ironcially due to OVERPOPULATION and toxic land in communist china where all your 'cheap' sh!t at mao mart is from, communist china is now opening more factories back in US in non union state b/c $20/hr is STILL cheaper than real estate in china which has tripled in last two years.....I suppose damming largest river and flooding millions of acres while you have one and a half BILLION humans living there with less than 10% arable farmland doesnt help!!!!probably not going to end well. and probably will see it in my lifetime..fun fun fun
        EZEE
        • 6 Months Ago
        @upstategreenie
        And a government debt growing at over $1 trillion per year, giving us higher debt than the entire European union, so I agree with you on the collapse. But, you are in SUCH a mood today, try this link. It will make you happy: http://cuteoverload.com/ It has cute things.
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      obviously very good news!! but also sad that americans only respond to carrot stick approach...and dont do the right thing because it is right. .only if they personally are affected. but whatever. get off oil...see how with increased record fuel economy big oil only closes more refineries and ships more oil overseas and creates more panic and hysteria by govt. to ensure oil prices stay high for more record big oil profits year over year.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would appear that MY2012 is returning things back on the path we were on MY2008-MY2010. It is not obvious why MY2011 didn't see the same increase in fleet mileage.
      EZEE
      • 6 Months Ago
      Can I help you out a bit? Hillary Clinton wrote her master's thesis on Saul Alinsky. Bill moyers referred to him as a good American. Chris Mathews of MSNBC, former speech writer of Democrat House Leader Tip O'neil called Alinsky one of the 'heroes of the 60's.' Saul Slinsky's son wrote a letter - The letter signed L. David Alinsky closed by saying, “I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully. … It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.” Adlai Stevenson said Alinsky was a 'true American hero.' Teachers Unions: [Saul Alinsky's] enduring influence may have been to inspire the National Education Association to become a political powerhouse.  Sam Lambert, the executive secretary of the NEA in 1967, when it hired Alinsky as a political trainer, boasted that it would "become a political power second to no other special interest."  The NEA delivered on that promise. Documentary: "The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky & His Legacy," narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, examines the life and legacy of the controversial community organizer Alinsky and his modern-day legacy. From NPR, an interview with a book author: Robert Siegel talks to author Sanford Horwitt, who wrote a biography of Saul Alinsky called Let Them Call Me 'Rebel'. The book traces Alinsky's early activism in Chicago's meatpacking neighborhood. Two leading Democratic candidates for president — Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — can trace their political character to teachings handed down indirectly from Alinsky, a community organizer from Chicago, who died in 1972. But slave owner Thomas Jefferson? My my my....and the guy who interred the Japanese? Obvious case of racism. A few other items: Seized gold from citizens and forbid owning it Suspended gold standard and revalued gold from US$20.67 to US$35 after Treasury had taken it Took control of banks Agricultural Adjustment Act that forced up prices while destroying farmland/animals Federal monopoly of bungling Tennessee Valley Authority Insane National Industrial Recovery Act that created 500 cartels National Labor Relations Act (surged labor costs) I think we can call game, set, and match to the Easy-E. Ironically, I am telling people to read a book by a radical so you better understand politics! And yet...you will say I am wrong. Oh wait....court packing! How could I forget about court packing (did they teach you about that in school?). Although I do like FDR's opinion on government employees unionizing (he was against that).
      EZEE
      • 6 Months Ago
      @Ford Thank you for the admission that at least some, do. Funny thing though, many on the right consider themselves 'classic' liberals. The liberals who said freedom, hands off, less regiulation etc. - more of a libertairian view (libertarian....liberal....). They are mildly correct as classic liberals didn't go to the extremes most Libertairians go to. I went to a libertairian meeting once. I am not much into the social issues that republicans are (I could care less if a person does drugs or who they sleep with). Their views on totally open borders, no regulation, and other issues turned me off, though. Immigration is fine, but totally open borders? The Chinese could send a few hundred container ships of people at once and we would have a problem. Also, you would secretly delight if you heard THEIR views on republicans... The Rn Paul types who assis irate with republicans are quite poorly looked upon as well. Oh - I don't have cable, so I don't watch Fox news. I truly would read rules for radicals, however. It isn't about your beliefs, or how people should be taken care of, Rukes for Radicals is all about strategy. How to deal with your opponent. When I read it, I nderstood SO MUCH of what I read in the news, and of what politicians say. On both sides even! Republicans have obviously read it, although IMHO, democrats are better at the application of the rules. But here is a simple example. You don't support the war, you are unpatriotic! That is the application there. You throw an argument out that triggers emotion, so logic need not apply. Same thing with, 'you don't support my bill to help the poor? You are racist!' In all seriousness, how you got your beliefs is fine, and your business. But Rules for Radicals should be required reading. You will understand so much about what you hear when politicians talk. And even the media. If you think Fox News or MSNBC are playing to emotions....well...they are. Now you can find out why!
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am a neoliberal. It means I see everyone is socialist and capitalist, and they use both behaviors to maximize their happiness and resources. Socialism and capitalism are complementary opposites. Like man and woman, when mixed in the right way, it's bliss. When mixed in the wrong way, society has two people who literally exist to ruin one another. We live in a representative democracy, so it is only natural that voters will choose both socialism and capitalism simultaneously. Neoliberalism has been the dominant platform in American politics since Reagan, but it means nothing unless politicians actually figure out how to mix the two. I think Clinton and Bush W were actually the best in that regard. Unfortunately, the proper blend of socialism and capitalism is elusive to bureaucrats in Congress. The only way to keep the improper, destructive mix of socialism and capitalism alive is to spend massive amounts of money we don't have. Naturally, Congress has been doing just that since 1980. A relationship that is supposed to be producing wealth and happiness is basically consuming wealth and happiness, and killing off future generations of Americans. Compromises and trade-offs should be really easy to find, but it isn't politically convenient so they can't be bothered. Republicans have done quite a few liberal things. W in particular who created Medicare Part D--a market-based entitlement (see the neoliberalism?). I've yet to see a prominent Democrat make any meaningful capitalistic reforms. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough or maybe the party is stuck in the 1960s. I actually trust Obama more than some of the nakedly-ambitious conservatives who easily (thanks to donors in both parties) pass tax cuts for the rich, but fail to make any progress for the middle class (mainly the AMT trap and FICA taxes). Unfortunately, Obama signed Reid's and Pelosi's version of Obamacare, which was one final LSD trip for the Democratic Party of the 1960s.
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      mylexicon lied saying "I didn't bring politics into the discussion." mylexicon said "Unfortunately, Obama signed Reid's and Pelosi's version of Obamacare, which was one final LSD trip for the Democratic Party of the 1960s." Like I've said many times before, the same people who bitch about politics being injected into ABG, are the same folks who feel free to repeatedly insert their own politics into ABG at their whim. EZEE -- You are the loudest complainer around here about politics being inserted into ABG. You even went so far as to do some silly "I'm not going to read Sebastian stories" protest about politics being inserted into ABG. You should be the FIRST to downrate a post that has such a naked and obvious insertion of politics as "Unfortunately, Obama signed Reid's and Pelosi's version of Obamacare, which was one final LSD trip for the Democratic Party of the 1960s." But since you really only object to having OPPOSING political viewpoints being inserted into ABG, it is no surprise that you found absolutely nothing worthy of a downvote in mylexicon's post, instead of downvoting it yourself, and applying the same standard you apply to Sebastian. I'm looking forward to you justifying your obvious and blatant double-standard. Or just pretending you never read this....
      DeepakX
      • 3 Years Ago
      No matter how fuel-efficient they are, it will cost the consumer the same amount, because they will just drive more. "Oh honey, now we can go further on our summer vacation plans" Save in one hand, spend in another. Net is always zero (or negative for most). That's just the American way.
        upstategreenie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        just like elon refers to tragedy of the commons. what you refer to in econ circles is called the capacity utilization theory. it is why building for instance 20 lane wide highways in atlanta or houston etc just results in even bigger giant traffic jam/parking lot. needs to be a global wide paradigm shift on meaning of life....and quality of life and sustainability not as do gooder vocab but as saving our entire species from global extinction. no water no food high oil prices constant spectre of war for oil/water all connected..no trees. dont worry about global warming. worry about no oxygen etc.
        Ford Future
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        "No matter how fuel-efficient they are, it will cost the consumer the same amount, because they will just drive more." Fallacy. At least in this case, you're not given extra hours after you buy your fuel efficient hybrid. And without additional time, there will be no increase in fuel consumption.
        upstategreenie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        us media mostly ignores fact that US saving rate is already back down to negative digits. even though recovery isnt really a recovery at all. it is a spendthrift nation..spend what you dont have. model after the govt .which just prints more fake money which really is worthless anyway. what happened to billions more in borrowing costs after US was downgraded for total inability to ever pay back its' debts ever and interest rate which will soon be more than our GDP...did we print our way out of that as well??? as soon as mittens starts war with Iran and more countries adopt India's stance such that India now buys oil in rupees, dollar will be the 'new' peso. as in worthless...than everybody especially denialists will be truly 'shocked'...how could this happen? they never saw it coming. of course.. what else is 'new'? then it will be somebody elses' fault. and time to start a new war for 'cheap' oil which is imaginary like most of what GOP imagines as their newest bogeyman. decades long wars for cheap oil total failure? yep so start another one..where is US media on all this? romney tells total 100% lie since he literally knows NOTHING at all about economy or anything else...as his FIRST statement as the GOP candidate. most US news are totally silent about it....anywhere which doesnt have oil elects new democratic govt? we dont care...somewhere with oil says they will charge more or get off dollar? we're all over that....so fu(*(ed up. we need to immed. get off oil and end oil's endless subsidies and free handouts courtesy of hard working americans big oil is fu*(ing over with your OWN money! while ruining your own gulf and ruining midwest etc..and paying for NOTHING it is causing as in constant RECORD climate catastrophes....but whatever.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        That's not true. U.S. consumption is dropping, and most people, like me, hate traffic.
        CanaDoc
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        Like the McDonalds customer that soothes their conscience for upsizing by getting a Diet Coke. A phenomenon so common it's been named - Jevons Paradox. No need to be overly cynical towards Americans though... the phrase was coined in the UK 150 years ago.
        Spec
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        Jevon's paradox only works if the cost is constant. Gas prices are going up. So we are driving less and actually still spending more.
        ec8094
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DeepakX
        That's not true - the fact is that that US consumption is declining.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is as if consumers suddenly realized that vehicles that get better mileage cost less to drive.
        upstategreenie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        along with higher gas prices 'recovery' includes mostly non union lower wage jobs..harder to 'absorb' the cost of driving giant hemi to office desk jockey job or mcjob etc. NOBODY needs a giant SUV in US. NOBODY...on RARE occasion anybody is using truck it is contractor. used to be conservatives would say 'in the old days' etc...well 'in the old days' SUVs didnt exist. everybody was fine...you crammed into smaller car because we also didnt have nasty fast food so that everybody is too obese. capacity utilization theory doesnt just apply to more and more and more highways to nowhere. humans arent special. humans are like goldfish. they just grow to fit whatever latest monstrosity they buy on credit they cannot afford in order to take up as much space as possible for some false 'security' while ignoring all others 'sharing' road. I have NEVER EVER seen trophy wife in giant SUV escalade denali etc ever USE it. except to talk on cell phone while zooming to mao mart and oblivious of all pedestrians etc....because 'safety' only means for HER in giant tank. nobody else matters...and that sadly is typical mentality in US in 2012. until THAT changes, nothing else will....corporations can buy whoever they want for president. wont matter...whole society has to change. if gas prices get people OUT of cars and actually off cell phones and actually having to interact again, it can go to TEN BUCKS a gallon...society will be better off. period.
          EZEE
          • 6 Months Ago
          @upstategreenie
          If we just controlled what people bought...restricted them to their needs only....
        paulwesterberg
        • 6 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        btw, If you cant tell be the snark in the previous post I usually post as paulwesterberg. ABGs commenting system has decided that today I am lt00000000089647.
          paulwesterberg
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Wierd, 5 minutes later my name displays correctly, but the previous poster is identified as xu00000000089540.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 6 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Looks like that's happening in regular autoblog as well. Someone's database is effed up...
      • 3 Years Ago
      The math is actually incorrect! If you want the fleet average you must use the harmonic mean, not the arithmetric mean.
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