- The fuel economy for new cars sold in September averaged 25.3 mpg, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
- That's a drop of 0.5 mpg from August but still an improvement of 5.2 mpg from October 2007, say UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.
- AAA reported that fuel prices dipped to $3.28 on Monday, down from $3.44 a month ago.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The fuel economy for new cars sold in September averaged 25.3 mpg, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
That's a significant drop of 0.5 mpg from the value in August but still represents an improvement of 5.2 mpg from October 2007, when the researchers began compiling data.
"This large drop likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs," according to a UMTRI statement.
As previously reported by Edmunds, such vehicles as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, Nissan Rogue compact SUV, Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV and Jeep Wrangler helped to drive those extremely strong September truck and SUV sales.
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.
The latest monthly UMTRI Eco-Driving Index showed that the average emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the driver of a new light vehicle purchased in September stood at a record-low 0.77. That figure indicates that the average new-car driver produced 23 percent lower emissions than in October 2007.
Meanwhile, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas nationwide dipped to $3.28 on Monday, down from $3.44 a month ago.
Drivers are paying the lowest prices for gas at this time of year since 2010, according to AAA, which also said we can expect fuel costs to continue dropping in the immediate future.
"Gas stations selling gas for less than $3 per gallon are growing increasingly common in some parts of the country," said a AAA statement. "Already, consumers can find at least one station selling gas for $3 or less in 26 states. Nearly 4 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for $3 or less today, and this number should increase significantly over the next couple of months."
Reasons for the drop in fuel prices include what AAA called a "dramatic boom in North American petroleum production" and the fact that no major hurricanes struck the U.S. coastline in September. That month is traditionally peak season for the storms, which can cause gas prices to rise significantly by disrupting refineries, pipelines and oil production.
Concluded AAA spokesman Avery Ash: "Gas prices could fall another 20 cents per gallon by the time families load up the car for Thanksgiving. If everything goes smoothly, buying gas for less than $3 per gallon should be refreshingly common in many parts of the country this winter."
Edmunds says: The dip in those September fuel-economy numbers says a lot about the priorities of car shoppers these days.