Average Fuel Economy Hits New High of 23.8 MPG in 2012, Report Says


  • Gas Pump Picture

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    The average fuel economy of all vehicles sold in the U.S. is climbing, according to a new report. | January 07, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • The average fuel economy of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2012 was 23.8 mpg, up 1.3 mpg from 2011 and up 2.9 mpg from 2008.
  • "This reflects the hard work of all the OEMs developing higher fuel-efficiency cars, so there are now more available options on the market," Brandon Schoettle, a project manager at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, told Edmunds on Monday.
  • However, the average fuel economy in December was down 0.2 mpg from November.

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The average fuel economy of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2012 was 23.8 mpg, up 1.3 mpg from 2011 and up 2.9 mpg from 2008, according to the University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index.

"This isn't just consumers seeking out more fuel-efficient cars," Brandon Schoettle, a project manager at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, told Edmunds on Monday. "This reflects the hard work of all the OEMs developing higher fuel-efficiency cars, so there are now more available options on the market."

However, the average fuel economy in December was down 0.2 mpg from November, likely reflecting the recent reduction in the price of gasoline, university researchers said.

The national weekly average pump prices for gasoline and diesel fuel during 2012 set record highs of $3.62 and $3.97 per gallon, respectively, and marked the second year in a row that the average price for either transportation fuel failed to drop below $3 per gallon during any week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the U.S. stood at $3.29 on Monday versus $3.35 a month ago.

"There are some people who buy a fuel-efficient car for its green aspect, but we suspect higher gas prices are more of a concern," Schoettle said.

The University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index also found average monthly emissions of greenhouse gases generated by an individual U.S. driver has improved 21 percent since October 2007, reaching 0.79 in October 2012.

Edmunds says: An indication of progress, as consumers and automakers turn toward more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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