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Posted on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

U-M Researchers: Fuel economy of new vehicles at all-time high

By Ben Freed

New vehicles sold in the United States in January had an average fuel economy of 24.5 miles per gallon, up a full mile per gallon from January 2012.

According to a report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the new mark beats the previous record of 24.4 set in October 2012.


The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute studies a range of transportation issues and is currently running a US Dept. of Transportation connected vehicles project.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

“The recent improvement reflects the improved fuel economy of the 2013 model year vehicles,” UMTRI researcher Michael Sivak said in a press release.

Higher fuel economy has been a focus of automakers in cars, trucks, and SUVs as consumers become more sensitive to both environmental concerns and high gas prices.

Sivak and fellow UMTRI researcher Brandon Schoettle began monitoring the fuel economy of new vehicles in October of 2007 when they were averaging just 20.1 mpg.

The researchers also compiled an Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by drivers in the U.S based on miles driven and average car fuel economy. The “EDI” experienced its lowest month ever in September 2012 and ticked up slightly in October and November.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Doug Liser

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 5:53 a.m.

That may be what people say but long-term studies on fuel prices show that consumers generally don't care much about efficiency. In fact in good economic times, people generally choose larger, less-efficient vehicles even when fuel prices are higher. Good thing we have CAFE to drive up mileage because the market hasn't and won't do it consistently. Vehicles have gotten so much better over the last few years, it's really a pleasure to go shopping.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

It seems that the competition from foreign car companies building cars here finally woke up the American Auto industry.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

My family's safety is more important than gas mileage as we travel on US-12 or Geddes Road or Washtenaw Avenue near Huron Parkway or the I-94 East on-ramp by Westgate or . . .


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

Also, Michigan drivers still driving like hooligans at 85 MPH in their new "efficient" vehicles.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

With this great News, is this stopping Global warming or Cooling? Is this doing anything except making the price of cars more expensive?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

When I read about increased gas mileage it brings me back to a great movie called Gas Hole-- it's about how Shell covered up a 100 miles per gal invention in the 40's. These gas and car companies are ruthless and have the knowledge of better performance for gas engines but are releasing the knowledge only to benefit their bottom line.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

And then there's 'Who Killed the Electric Car'.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

So then the car companies are with holding technology because if they made a car that gets 100mpg nobody would buy one?