EPA: U.S. average fuel economy hit new record in 2009

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, which first started keeping track of such things way back in 1975 around the time of the first fuel crisis in America, the average fuel economy of all vehicles sold in the U.S. hit a record high in 2009. For those favoring hard data, that equals 22.4 miles per gallon. Not surprisingly, average fuel economy has been on an upward path over the last several years (minus a small dip in 2008).

These mileage increases are being achieved through all sorts of electronic gadgetry, despite significant gains in both horsepower and overall vehicle weight. It's also interesting to note that the percentage of trucks sold dropped from 47 percent to just 40 percent.

It should be pointed out that the way the EPA figures fuel mileage varies greatly from the numbers used to determine an automaker's Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE. The EPA's numbers, which are about 20 percent lower than those use for CAFE reporting, are said to be more realistic representations of everyday usage.

For what it's worth, the EPA is currently predicting that a new, slightly higher record will again be set in 2010: 22.5 mpg. Yes, that's just a tenth of a mile per gallon higher than '09, but let's take what we can get, shall we?

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Tim Boyle/Getty]

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