ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The average fuel economy for new cars sold in April dropped slightly, to 25.2 mpg, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The April average is down 0.2 mpg from March but an improvement of 5.1 mpg from October 2007, when the researchers first began compiling data.
To arrive at its figures, UMTRI 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.
According to UMTRI, the April drop in average fuel economy "likely reflects the increased proportion of pickup trucks and SUVs in the sales mix."
For example, sales leaders for the month included the Jeep brand, with the new 2015 Cherokee showing its best monthly sales yet; Ford trucks and SUVs, led by the 2015 Lincoln Navigator; GM trucks, including the 2015 Cadillac Escalade; the 2015 Honda Pilot; the 2015 Nissan Murano; and Toyota trucks, including the full-size 2015 Tundra pickup.
The latest UMTRI Eco-Driving Index showed that the average emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the driver of a new light vehicle stood at 0.82, unchanged from January of this year. That figure indicates that the average new-car driver produced 18 percent lower emissions than in October 2007.
According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide was $2.62 on Tuesday. That's down significantly compared to $3.67 from a year ago, but up a bit from last month's average of $2.39.
AAA attributes the month-over-month increase to "higher crude oil costs and a number of refinery issues." In addition, says AAA, "the price at the pump often increases in the spring due to seasonal maintenance, rising demand and the higher costs associated with producing more expensive summer-blend gasoline, which is required in many parts of the country to combat emissions in warmer temperatures."
Nevertheless, AAA says to expect average year-over-year fuel savings to continue, "barring any major supply disruptions," with pump prices remaining below $3 per gallon for the remainder of 2015.
Edmunds says: This latest fuel economy report is even more evidence of a return to the love affair with trucks and SUVs.