Fuel Economy Continues Seeing a Drop in September, UMTRI Reports

Corporate average fuel economy for new light-duty vehicles sold in America during September continued the decline in mpg that’s been seen this year.

Fuel economy for new cars and trucks during September dropped 0.1 mpg from August to 25.2 mpg, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released yesterday. The drop reflects likely reflects increased sales of light trucks over cars, UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle said in a statement.

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As you can see above in the UMTRI report, fuel economy ratings have decreased since the spring with increasing popularity of pickups and SUVs as fuel prices stayed low. Automotive News Data Center reported that pickup sales increased 7.4 percent in September over September 2015, and SUV sales shot up 11 percent over the same period. Total car sales had a 7.6 percent drop from the previous year.

So far, 2016 model year vehicles are seeing the same fuel economy average as the 2015 and 2015 model years, at 25.3 mpg.

The UMTRI study also found that fuel economy for new vehicles sold was down 0.6 mpg in September from its peak in August 2014. It is still 5.1 mpg higher than in October 2007, when the university study began. In another study, the UMTRI found that new vehicles emitted 18 percent fewer emissions in July 2016 than in October 2007.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration does project that gasoline and diesel prices will be staying down for the short-term future.

Low fuel prices are considered by the auto industry to be why hybrid and electric car purchases have been down in recent years, along with corporate average fuel economy. Automakers are looking forward to extended range, reduced sticker prices, and product diversity bringing up electric car sales in the years ahead.

Automotive News