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Fuel economy of new vehicles continues to rise

February 5, 2012

The average fuel economy of current model year vehicles is 14 percent higher than just four years ago, according to UMTRI researchers.

For all 2012 light-duty vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, minivans, vans and SUVs) offered for sale, average mpg is 21.5, compared to 18.9 mpg for model year 2008 vehicles. The averages were 21.2 for 2011, 20.7 for 2010 and 19 for 2009.

For new vehicles actually purchased, average fuel economy is typically one-to-two miles per gallon higher--22.5 mpg for model year 2011 (the last full year of sales), 22.1 for 2010, 21.3 for 2009, and 20.8 for 2008.

"This implies that consumers tend to choose vehicle models with better fuel economy than the average of all vehicles available," said Brandon Schoettle of UMTRI. "The recent economic downturn, coupled with rising gas prices, has led to an increased interest in purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles."

Read the U-M news release.