Average U.S. fuel economy up slightly in Feb.

The average fuel economy of new U.S. light trucks, cars, SUVs and vans sold in February rose 0.1 mpg from the revised figure for January, to 25.2 mpg, according to a monthly report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States is up by 5.1 mpg since the researchers began collecting data in October 2007.

Average sales-weighted fuel economy was calculated from the monthly sales of individual models and the combined city-highway fuel economy ratings from the EPA Fuel Economy Guide for each model.

Meanwhile, the institute's national Eco-Driving Index, which calculates the monthly greenhouse gas emissions from a U.S. driver who bought a new vehicle during the month, held at a record-low 0.78 in December. A lower index score is better, and the scores are compared with a base score of 1 in October 2007, when researchers began collecting data.

"This value indicates an improvement of 22 percent since October 2007," researcher Michael Sivak said in a statement. "The EDI takes into account both the fuel used per distance driven and the amount of driving."

You can reach Sean Gagnier at sgagnier@crain.com

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