Average mpg of new U.S. vehicles bought in April declines, report says
DETROIT -- The average fuel economy of new vehicles bought in the United States in April dropped to 23.9 mpg from a record 24.1 mpg in the previous month, researchers at the University of Michigan said.
The university’s Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Mich., has tracked the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold each month since October 2007, when average fuel economy was 20.1 mpg.
The researchers said the drop most likely reflected the slight reduction in the price of gasoline toward the end of April.
“Starting with the first week in April, gas prices dropped each week,” said Brandon Schoettle, an institute research associate and co-author of the report. “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.”
Average fuel economy rose from 23.9 mpg in February to 24.1 mpg in March.
Schoettle added that the price of gasoline and the U.S. unemployment rate both factor heavily into average fuel economy for new vehicles. If they both continue to fall, interest in high fuel economy vehicles also may start to decline.
AAA this week reported the national average of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.80, down from $3.92 a month ago.
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