Study: 2012 Fuel Economy Highest Ever For New U.S. Vehicles

A study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) reveals that the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold in 2012 increased by 6 percent, to 23.8 mpg.

This finding follows similar results UMTRI citied when it said earlier this year that the United States has become nearly 20 percent more efficient since fall of 2007 after the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard was raised five years ago as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act .

The Detroit Bureau reports that consumer response to high fuel costs combined with wide availability of fuel efficient vehicles from carmakers like GM and VW helped drive the record average fuel economy last year.

“Our investments in advanced powertrains are clearly paying off, and our smaller vehicles are resonating with customers,” Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said.

“In 2013, we’ll introduce new diesel, eAssist and plug-in vehicles in the United States and expand the availability of turbocharged four-cylinder engines. This will give us the most technologically diverse range of fuel-efficient cars and crossovers in the industry,” said Reuss.

Even pickup trucks, traditionally strong sellers, but also notorious for poor fuel efficiency, have improved in mpg in recent years.

All three of the Detroit makers are emphasizing mileage with new, downsized powertrains, with Ford leading the way. The article says about half of Ford’s F-Series buyers shift to V-6 offerings over the past year, including the V-6 EcoBoost that can still match the towing and payload capacity of the Ford truck’s classic V-8s.

As Joseph Szczesny of Bureau writes, Dodge now boasts that its Ram pickup is capable of 25 mpg, the best on the market according to the manufacturer.

The Detroit Bureau