New-Car Fuel Economy Flat for September

Besides the hoopla surrounding 40-plus mpg compacts, hybrids and even electric cars, America’s new-car fuel economy has remained flat this year, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The average fuel economy for all new cars sold in September was 22.1 mpg, which is unchanged from August. That’s the lowest figure in the past year, said Michael Sivak, a research professor at the institute. The average fuel economy for a new car has dropped since March when it reached a high of 23 mpg.

“The decrease is likely related to the slight drop in gas prices since the spring,” said Sivak, who also said that fuel-efficiency gains were dependent on gas prices and unemployment.

Despite the drop in fuel efficiency, the average is still much better than cars built just four years ago, according to the institute, when the average car’s fuel economy hovered around 20 mpg.

Fuel economy of new vehicles still at lowest point in the past year (University of Michigan, via The Detroit News)

By Colin Bird | October 11, 2011 | Comments (2)
Tags: In The News



If anyone's interested, here is a more detailed account of how they measured their findings:

"The average sales-weighted fuel economy was calculated from the monthly sales of individual models of light-duty vehicles (cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks) and the EPA “combined” fuel-economy ratings for the respective models. All vehicles purchased from October 2007 through September 2008 were assumed to be model year 2008. Analogous assumptions were made for vehicles purchased in each additional model year. The fuel-economy information was available for 99.8% of vehicles purchased.

For cases in which the EPA fuel economy guide contained multiple fuel-economy values for a vehicle model, the average of these values was used (without regard to sales figures for each specific engine or vehicle-model variant). Additionally, when a vehicle model was sold during a particular model year but it is not listed in that year’s EPA fuel economy guide, the fuel economy value(s) from the most recently available year were used. Finally, for very low sales-volume manufacturers (e.g., Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, etc.), all vehicle models for that manufacturer were aggregated and one average fuel-economy value was calculated. Analogously, the sales figures for such manufacturers and models were also aggregated each month."


While these numbers still constitute a huge range of vehicles (SUVS to small cars), the mileage reported here should make people think twice about how "easy" it'll be to convert American into a more efficient consumer of oil. We've got a long way to go!

Gas prices going down, yaa right! After reading many comments, I was disappointed not to find someone that had a legitimate solution to help save the consumer a substantial amount of money on their gas expenses. Can my pocket book the only one that is suffering from being ripped off by the ridicules high gas prices? The bad economy forced me to take my own action; so I found a solution that works excellent for my family; maybe yours too. Got a better plan, let me know.

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