Average U.S. Fuel Economy Flat this Year: Report

Efficiency matters, but drivers don’t always go for the most economical option when purchasing a new vehicle. The latest average fuel-economy figures for new vehicles sold in the U.S. last month are out and they’re essentially unchanged from January.

According to Michael Sivak, director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, the number in question is hovering at 25.2 miles per gallon.

This score pertains to new vehicles sold in America during the month of February and is based off window-sticker values. For vehicles with multiple powertrain options their efficiency ratings were averaged.

This data is available for 99.7 percent of vehicles purchased. This is likely because some heavy-duty vehicles are not required to display fuel-economy figures on their window stickers.

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Even though that overall figure of 25.2 hasn’t grown this year, it’s still way up from when they started tracking this data in October 2007. Since then, average fuel economy has increased by 5.1 miles per gallon, peaking in August 2014 at around 25.7 MPG.

Along with fuel economy, tailpipe emissions are something else U of M tracks. According to Sivak, the school’s Eco-Driving Index estimates the average monthly greenhouse gas emissions by individual drivers in the U.S. This figure was 0.85 last December, up 0.03 from the month prior, which is a step in the wrong direction since a lower figure equates to fewer tailpipe pollutants.

That 0.85 figure means vehicles emit 15 percent fewer harmful emissions than they did way back in October 2007. Still, things have taken a small step backwards compared to August 2014, with the average vehicle releasing 7 percent more pollution.

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