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Vehicle fuel economy rose in May

June 4, 2015

Gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. was up last month—its highest mark since last August, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in May was 25.5 mpg, up from 25.2 mpg in April.

"The improvement likely reflects the increased price of gasoline in May," said Michael Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI.

Overall, fuel economy is up 5.4 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and colleague Brandon Schoettle.

However, the average vehicle fuel economy during the first eight months of this model year (October 2014 through May 2015)—25.3 mpg—has stayed the same as during the preceding model year (October 2013 through September 2014).

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 March, the EDI remained at 0.82 (the lower the value, the better) for the third month in a row. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are now down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007.