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Gas mileage drops to lowest point this year

December 4, 2015

Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. dropped for the fourth straight month and to its lowest point this year, say UMTRI researchers.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in November was 25.0 mpg, down 0.1 mpg from the revised value for October.

"This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in November, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers" said UMTRI's Michael Sivak.

Overall, fuel economy is down 0.8 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but up 4.9 mpg from October 2007—the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and colleague Brandon Schoettle.

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued a 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 the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During September, the EDI rose to 0.83 (the lower the value, the better) from 0.81 in August. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 17 percent, overall, since October 2007. EDI reached its best level (0.78) in August 2014.