Although the mileage of most individual models on sale in the US hasn't changed significantly in many years, the average of the entire fleet sold in the 2007 model year is likely to reach a new record level. The average of 26.4 mpg for this past year is 1 mpg better than last year and tops the previous record of 26.2 in 1987. The preliminary figures have been released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The reason for the increase is a change in the model mix. As sales of many larger trucks and SUVs have sagged, many car models have made gains. After a dip late in 2006, gas prices have stayed relatively high through most of this year. Another factor is the sliding housing market which has cut into full-size pickup sales as construction starts have tanked. As long as fuel prices remain high, the trend is likely to continue.

[Source: Detroit Free Press, thanks to Justin for the tip]

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