DETROIT -- The average fuel economy for new vehicles purchased in the United States rose to 23.7 mpg in February, a new high, 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 monthly since October 2007, when average fuel economy was 20.1 mpg.
In January, the researchers said they expected average fuel economy for new vehicles purchased to keep rising.
“The observed long-term increase in vehicle mileage of purchased vehicles reflects both the improvement in the average fuel economy of vehicles offered by manufacturers and the increased interest in good fuel economy on the part of vehicle buyers,” Michael Sivak, head of the institute’s human factors group, said in a statement.
Average fuel economy rose from 22.6 mpg in December to 23.5 mpg in January.
The trend is likely to continue if fuel prices in the United States keep increasing, Sivak noted. AAA this week reported the national average of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.76.