ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The average fuel economy for new vehicles sold in April fell 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 0.1 mpg from last month and 0.6 mpg less than the peak reached in August 2014, but still 5.1 mpg better than October 2007 when the researchers first began compiling data.
The most recent UMTRI Eco-Driving Index stands at 0.81, indicating that the average new vehicle produces 19 percent lower emissions than in October 2007, although that number is 3 percent higher than the record low reached in August 2014.
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 decline "likely reflects the increased market share of pickup trucks and SUVs."
So recent increases in the cost of fuel don't seem to have dissuaded shoppers from opting for the practical, but generally thirstier, trucks and utility vehicles.
According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide was $2.22 per gallon on Thursday. Although that compares favorably to $2.62 at this time a year ago, it does represent an upward trend.
AAA reports that even though ample gasoline supplies and relatively lower crude oil costs are helping to sustain year-over-year savings, gas prices have now climbed to a six-month high and may go even higher as we enter the busy summer driving season.
Edmunds says: Despite rising fuel costs, shoppers continue to show their love for trucks and SUVs.