- The national average fuel economy for new cars sold in July rose slightly to 25.6 mpg, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
- Vehicle fuel economy is up 5.5 mpg since October 2007.
- AAA on Wednesday reported that gas prices are averaging $3.48 per gallon, a four-year low for early August.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The national average fuel economy for new cars sold in July rose slightly to 25.6 mpg, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, while AAA on Wednesday reported that gas prices are averaging $3.48 per gallon, a four-year low for early August.
The most recent data from the UMTRI Eco-Driving Index show that the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in July was up 0.1 mpg from June and just 0.1 mpg shy of the revised record set in May.
Vehicle fuel economy is up 5.5 mpg since October 2007.
The Institute calculates average sales-weighted fuel economy from the monthly sales of light-duty vehicles (cars, SUVs, vans and pickups) and the combined city/highway fuel economy ratings that appear in the EPA Fuel Economy Guide and on vehicle window stickers.
The Eco-Driving Index also noted that the average monthly emissions of greenhouse gases generated by an individual U.S. driver stood at 0.79 in May. This value indicates that the average new-vehicle driver produced 21 percent lower emissions in May than in October 2007.
Meanwhile, AAA reports that for the first time since March 12, national average fuel prices have dropped below $3.50 for a gallon of regular gas. Wednesday's $3.48 average is at the lowest level for early August since 2010.
AAA also says that the national average cost of fuel has fallen for 37 of the last 38 days and has dropped a total of 18 cents per gallon during that time. The current average is 16 cents less than one month ago and 12 cents less than the same date last year.
Gas prices have declined primarily due to record-high refinery production and adequate reserve supplies.
"Gas prices may cost less than in recent years this August as long as refinery production remains strong and oil costs do not rise due to unexpected issues," said AAA spokesman Avery Ash in a statement. "The biggest threat to continued falling prices would be a major hurricane striking the U.S. Gulf Coast. Prices also could rise or remain flat if refineries cut back on production or if there are any major refinery outages."
Edmunds says: Better vehicle fuel economy ratings plus lower gas prices equal good news for consumers.