• Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
Well, we can't quite figure this one out. Amid all of the hand-wringing over the recent drop in US purchases of hybrids and plug-in vehicles, average new-vehicle fuel-economy is going back ... up. Sure, the industry is still below its collective fuel-economy peak from August 2014, but fuel-efficiency in March rose 0.2 mpg to 25.4 miles per gallon. That's about even with a year ago despite gas prices being substantially cheaper, according to a study by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

The even-better news is that new-vehicle emissions are down 18 percent since UMTRI's team started tracking such figures in October 2007. The odd part, of course, is that Americans seem to be pulling away from advanced-powertrain vehicles recently. Last month, Americans bought about 45,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and diesels, down 23 percent from a year earlier. Plug-in vehicle sales fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier to 8,255 vehicles. Things were slightly better for the entire first quarter, when plug-in vehicle sales were up slightly, while total green-car sales fell 14 percent from a year earlier.

Last year, new-vehicle fuel efficiency averaged 25.3 mpg, which was 22 percent more than 2008 figures. Take a look at UMTRI's most-recent statement below.
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Vehicle fuel economy up slightly in March

APRIL 6, 2015

Gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. ticked upward last month, according to UMTRI researchers.
The change likely reflects the increased gasoline prices from February to March, said research professor Michael Sivak. However, fuel economy is still down 0.4 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014.
Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in March was 25.4 mpg, up from 25.2 mpg in February and the same rate as a year ago.

The average fuel economy during the first six months of this model year has stayed the same-25.3 mpg-as during the preceding 12 months," Sivak said.

Overall, vehicle fuel economy is up 5.3 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and colleague 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 January, the EDI remained at 0.82 (the lower the value, the better) for the second straight month. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are now down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007.


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