ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The average fuel economy for new vehicles sold in July rose to 25.4 mpg, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
Last month's average is up 0.1 mpg from the previous month and 0.4 mpg less than the peak reached in August 2014, but still 5.3 mpg better than October 2007 when the researchers first began compiling data.
The most recent UMTRI Eco-Driving Index stands at 0.82, indicating that the average new vehicle produces 18 percent lower emissions than in October 2007, although that number is 4 percent higher than the record low reached in both August 2014 and August 2015.
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.
Average fuel economy was up for the month even though, as recently reported by Edmunds, car shoppers continued their love affair with trucks and SUVs in July, rather than leaning toward the generally more economical smaller cars.
Other strong performers included the Ford F-Series and Nissan Frontier pickups, the Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot SUVs, and the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide was $2.12 on Monday, down from $2.60 a year ago at this time.
AAA noted on August 1 that the current average is the lowest it's been in the past 100 days, as well as the lowest for this time of year since 2004.
And, says AAA, with gasoline supplies high and oil prices low, we can expect pump prices to remain relatively cheap through the remainder of the summer and into the fall.
Edmunds says: Consumers seeking to maximize their fuel economy might want to consults the Edmunds.com Fuel Economy and Green Cars page.