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The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has been tracking the average overall fuel economy of vehicles sold in the U.S. since October 2007, and while the general curve has been towards more fuel efficient vehicles being sold, the opposite happened this past June.
With gas prices falling for this first time in months, consumers are obviously feeling more comfortable buying a less fuel efficient vehicle. The average in June was 23.6 mpg, down 0.1 mpg from May and down 0.5 mpg from the peak in March. Not a substantial amount, but enough to show that fuel economy is a large factor when it comes to buying a new car.
Even the amount of travel Americans are doing is increasing, going up by 0.9 percent in the first four months of 2012 compared to the first four months of 2011.
According to the University of Michigan, the average fuel economy of all the cars sold in April was 23.9 mpg, a 0.2 decrease from March.
The study indicates that American car buyers are still conflicted in the showrooms. While many fuel efficient small vehicles celebrated good sales last month, vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Titan were in high demand as well, showing that Americans still have the need for big cars, and will sacrifice fuel economy to get them.
The sales also reflect the slight reduction in gas prices we saw at the end of April, as the price of gas dictates what people buy. This comes as a surprise as analysts are still predicting gas prices to soar in the coming months, causing consumers to turn to fuel efficient alternatives.
Since the study began in October of 2007, our vehicles have become roughly 14 percent more fuel efficient, but they still have a long way to go if gas prices keep on creeping up.