Average U.S. fuel economy rises to record 25.6 mpg

The average fuel economy of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in the United States in May was 25.6 mpg, a 0.4 mpg improvement over the previous month, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

This marks the highest average mpg capability ever, topping the previous record -- 25.2 mpg in March -- by 0.2 mpg, the research institute said in a statement this week. The average is up 5.5 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by the institute.

“This increase likely reflects the continuing high price of gasoline,” researcher Michael Sivak said in the statement.

In a separate study by the university, the average monthly emissions of greenhouse gasses generated by each driver in the United States in March, the most recent month studied, has dropped 22 percent from October 2007.

This average monthly emissions, referred to by the institute as the national Eco-Driving Index, is a ratio of vehicle emissions as compared with October 2007, researcher Brandon Schoettle said.

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Tags: Fuel Economy