The average fuel economy of vehicles sold in the U.S. has dropped by the largest amount in three years.
According to research by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, average fuel numbers for cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in September was 25.3 mpg, down from a record-setting 25.8 mpg in August. While 0.5 mpg may not seem like a lot, the last time a drop that big was recorded was in December 2011.
“This large drop likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs, and the reduced demand for fuel efficient vehicles of all types because of the falling gas prices,” said UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak.
Since UMTRI started its fuel economy tracking in October 2007, the overall average has climbed by 5.2 mpg. The average fuel economy must continually improve as automakers are being forced by the U.S. government to meet an average fleet fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025.