Thanks to lower gasoline prices and the continued strength of pickup and SUV sales, the average fuel economy of light vehicles purchased in the U.S. in October was down slightly from September, a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute report said on Thursday.
The average window-sticker rating of cars, SUVs, vans and pickups purchased last month was 25.0 mpg, down from 25.2 mpg in September.
“This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in October, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks and SUVs,” researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle wrote in an email.
According to AAA data, the national average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. was $2.22 per gallon on Friday, down from $2.95 one year ago.
U.S. pickup sales in October rose 7.3 percent from October 2014 to 216,466. SUV sales were up 8.8 percent from October 2014 to 101,291.
October’s fuel economy was down 0.3 mpg from a year earlier. However, it was the 21st consecutive month that fuel economy was at or above 25 mpg.
Fuel economy is also down 0.8 mpg from August 2014’s peak of 25.8 mpg, but is still up 4.9 mpg since October 2007, when the monitoring started.
A second study by the institute tracked August’s average greenhouse gas emissions of each new-vehicle driver in the country. The University of Michigan Eco-Driving Index for August was 0.81, down 0.01 from July.
According to the report, this value indicates that the average new-vehicle driver produced 19 percent lower emissions in August 2015 than in October 2007, but 3.8 percent higher emissions than the low of 0.78 in August 2014.