Gas mileage of new vehicles sets record high again

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--For the second straight month, fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States is at its highest level, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased in February was 23.7 miles per gallon, up from 23.5 in January (which was revised upward from 23.0 mpg reported last month).

According to Michael Sivak, research professor and head of UMTRI’s Human Factors Group, average fuel economy of all new vehicles bought last month was up 5 percent (1.1 mpg) from just two months ago and is now 16 percent higher (3.3 mpg) than four years ago in February 2008.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and UMTRI colleague Brandon Schoettle issued their 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 vehicle fuel economy and distance driven---the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During December 2011, the EDI stood at 0.87, up from a revised value of 0.84 in both October and November. The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 13 percent, overall, since October 2007 (the first month of the index).

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