A University of Michigan transportation research report noted a slight reversal last month in the average new vehicle’s fuel economy rating.
The drop was small – in March a record average of 24.1 mpg was recorded, and in April it notched back to 23.9.
This number is equal to February’s average, and whether analysts are straining at a gnat, or are implicitly saying Americans are highly reactive – or expressing accurate insights, you decide – researchers have initially made comments about what it could mean for the high-efficiency car market.
Brandon Schoettle, an institute research associate and co-author of the report was quoted by Automotive News as saying the drop was in relation to fuel prices which also declined in April.
“Starting with the first week in April, gas prices dropped each week,” he said. “We think that consumers are not only sensitive to the absolute price of gas, but also the recent changes, leading to a drop in fuel economy.”
The university’s Transportation Research Center has monitored average new vehicle fuel economy since October 2007 when it was 20.1 mpg.
Aside from consumers potentially reacting to what at-the-moment gas prices are to help determine what kind of car one should get, Shoettle said the U.S. unemployment rate was another major variable contributing to the decline.
The average fuel price is reportedly down 12 cents from a month prior, currently hovering at $3.80 per gallon. If the average nationwide price of gasoline and unemployment rate continue to decline, researchers say, so could the aggregate interest level in high fuel economy vehicles.