North American Fuel Economy Up In October

nissan hybrid pure drive

The month of October saw the average fuel economy of cars sold in North America increase. The window-sticker value went up for the month after sliding a bit in the month of September.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculated the number based on monthly sales of cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks using EPA fuel economy ratings for each model. The number for October came in at 24.8 MPG.

This is the same figure they calculated in August when the number peaked before falling in September. That month, the figure dipped to 24.6. They attribute the decline to a decrease in the price of gas at the pump which had buyers looking at cars with lower MPG ratings.

According to researchers, there are two opposing factors affecting the overall average fuel economy of the cars that are selling in North America right now. First, the 2014 model year vehicles that are being introduced often have greatly improved fuel economy. This will help tick the average a bit higher.

Working in the opposite direction is the price of gasoline. It’s been steadily dropping over the last few months which will make many buyers give fuel economy less of a priority in their purchase decisions.

Looking at things more long term, the average fuel economy has gone up significantly over the last few years. From October 2007 through October 2013, the average fuel economy just missed a 5 MPG increase coming in at 4.7 MPG.

A side effect improvement that goes along with the increased fuel economy is a reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases being produced by vehicles on the road today. The University of Michigan’s Eco-Driving Index measures the amount of greenhouse gases produced by newly purchased light-duty trucks each month. They’ve calculated a 20% improvement in that figure since they started keeping data back in 2007.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.