ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The fuel economy for new cars sold in November averaged 25.3 mpg for the third straight month, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The November average represents an improvement of 5.2 mpg from October 2007, when the researchers first began compiling data.
UMTRI attributes the unchanged average fuel economy to two continuing trends: less demand for fuel-efficient vehicles because of the decreasing price of gasoline, and improved fuel economy of 2015 model-year vehicles compared to 2014 models.
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.
The latest monthly UMTRI Eco-Driving Index showed that the average emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the driver of a new light vehicle stood at 0.78. That figure indicates that the average new-car driver produced 22 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 dipped to $2.78 on Thursday, down from $3.25 a year ago.
AAA notes that gas prices are running about 52 cents per gallon less than at this time a year ago and are at their lowest average since October 2010. AAA estimates that Americans are saving about $200 million per day on gasoline compared to last year.
"Gas prices have fallen at a remarkable pace that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago," said AAA spokesman Avery Ash, in a statement. "Lower gas prices represent real doorbuster savings as everyone begins their holiday shopping."
The timing is especially good for consumers planning to travel during the holidays. And according to a study from DME Automotive, we can expect the roads to be very crowded over the next several weeks.
The automotive marketing firm found that fully 34.5 percent of those surveyed plan to drive out of town for the 2014 winter holidays. Better than 50 percent of the travelers say they intend to drive more than 400 miles round-trip, with one in six planning to add more than 1,000 miles to their odometers.
Considering the low gas prices, said Mary Sheridan Ph.D., manager of research and analytics for DME, "it makes sense that a large number of consumers are reporting that they plan to drive long distances over the winter holidays."
Edmunds says: Whether they intend to travel or not, consumers will welcome the falling gas prices during the holiday season.