Fuel economy of new vehicles bought hits all-time high

The fuel economy of light vehicles purchased in the U.S. during August hit an all-time high, a University of Michigan report said Thursday.

The average window-sticker rating of cars, SUVs, vans and pickups purchased last month was 25.8 mpg, up from 25.6 in July and up even more significantly from 24.9 a year ago, according to the monthly report.

Average stated fuel economy has increased 5.7 mpg since the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s first full month of monitoring in October 2007, the report said.

Another study by the institute tracked June’s average greenhouse gas emissions of each new-vehicle driver in the country. The Eco-Driving Index dropped to 0.78, tying the record low, from 0.79 in May, the report said. June, the most recent month for which data is available, was the fifth time greenhouse gas emissions had reached the record low in the last year.

A lower index score is better, and the scores are compared with a base score of 1 in October 2007, when the data collection began. The study found that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles decreased 22 percent since that time.

You can reach Hannah Lutz at hlutz@crain.com