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Vehicle fuel economy up slightly in March

April 6, 2015

Gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. ticked upward last month, according to UMTRI researchers.

The change likely reflects the increased gasoline prices from February to March, said research professor Michael Sivak. However, fuel economy is still down 0.4 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in March was 25.4 mpg, up from 25.2 mpg in February and the same rate as a year ago.

The average fuel economy during the first six months of this model year has stayed the same—25.3 mpg—as during the preceding 12 months," Sivak said.

Overall, vehicle fuel economy is up 5.3 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 January, the EDI remained at 0.82 (the lower the value, the better) for the second straight month. The index currently shows emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are now down 18 percent, overall, since October 2007.