ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The average fuel economy for new vehicles sold in July remained at 25.4 mpg, the same as June, according to researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The July average is down 0.4 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but an improvement of 5.3 mpg from October 2007, when the researchers first began compiling data.
The latest UMTRI Eco-Driving Index stands at 0.82, indicating that the average new-vehicle driver produced 18 percent lower emissions than in October 2007, although that figure is 4 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 steady state of new-car fuel economy is "consistent with the increased market share of vehicles in the middle of the fuel-economy spectrum (such as crossovers)."
As recently reported by Edmunds, July's sales leaders included crossovers, SUVs and pickups, including the Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Edge, Ford F-150, Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Patriot, Lincoln MKC, Lincoln Navigator, Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander.
On the other hand, more fuel-efficient subcompact cars were among the slowest-selling models in July.
According to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide was $2.63 on Wednesday, down significantly from $3.49 a year ago.
AAA notes that pump prices have now fallen for 20 consecutive days, with drivers in 39 states and Washington, D.C., paying less to refuel their vehicles than a month ago. The most dramatic savings are being seen in Ohio, where the average price per gallon is down 41 cents, Michigan (38 cents), Indiana (37 cents) and Illinois (31 cents).
On the losing end are drivers in California, where prices are up 30 cents compared to last month, and Colorado, with an increase of 13 cents.
Overall, AAA says, we can expect the national average price for gasoline "to keep moving lower leading up to the Labor Day holiday, barring any unexpected spikes in the price of global crude oil or unexpected disruptions to domestic production."
Edmunds says: Continued strong sales of SUVs, trucks and crossovers indicate that consumers are taking advantage of relatively low gas prices.