By on October 9, 2014

Man Pumping Gas

Good news: New-car fuel economy in the United States improved to an average of 24.1 mpg in 2013.

Bad news: Said economy fell to 25.3 mpg for September 2014.

AutoblogGreen reports the 2013 average, as calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency, is not only an improvement of 0.5 mpg higher than in 2012, but is the highest the yearly average has ever been. It’s also the halfway point to the 2025 CAFE target of 54.5 mpg, which would come out to an EPA sticker value of 40 mpg thanks to improvements in gasoline engines, alternative clean technologies, and the credits such things generate.

Still, it is a long way to the top if the green parade still wants to rock and roll. According to AutoGuide, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reports the September 2014 average is a 0.5 mpg drop from the all-time high of 25.8 mpg recorded in August. The group adds that the last time U.S. new-car fuel economy dropped by 0.5 mpg was in December 2011. Research professor Michael Sivak says the drop “likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs, and the reduced demand for fuel efficient vehicles of all types because of the falling gas prices.”

EDI_mpg_September-2014

EDI_CAFE_September-2014

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9 Comments on “US New-Car Fuel Economy Improves For 2013, Falls For September 2014...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    It looks like each fall/autumn there is a drop off, the September figure is still above where it was last year. Just as we don`t like to compare one month to the next in sales data, but prefer year on year comparisons, the same standard should apply here. 2014 will be more efficient, as a whole, than 2013.

    Also “The group adds that the last time U.S. new-car fuel economy reached 25.3 mpg was in December 2011.” From the graph the December 2011 figure was 23.0mpg. 25.3 mpg was last reached in June 2014.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      You are correct, it seems to drop-off every year at this time. My guesses: model-year clear-outs that make guzzlers more affordable, and lower summer truck sales to businesses.

  • avatar

    If congress allows US oil to be exported you can bet the figure will continue to drop. And visa versa. September can be totally explained by the fact that I traded my Civic for a 5.0

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Are non-Sales-weighted numbers available? I.e. can you plot the avg MPG of all cars for sale in a given time period?

    It’s always bugged me that a manufacturer will get penalized for the consumers preferences.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      That was my main complaint with the BS that BS published about “the most efficient cars in America” articles.

      Without considering sales data, it would be fairly easy to compile a list of all car variants s sold by each company and then crunch some numbers. However, that still doesn’t produce the best results because some cars are nothing more than compliance vehicles (EVs sold in only a couple states) and others are niche products that aren’t intended to sell in large numbers.

      What I proposed during BS’s reign was that a plot be made of all vehicles comparing efficiency to either weight or to passenger + cargo volume. The plot would show a consistent trend of more mass (or volume) equating to less efficiency. A trend line could then be generated showing an industry average. That average could be compared year to year to check to see if things are improving, and each manufacturer could be compared to the trend line to see how they compare to each other.

      I started work on creating the plot, but other things got in the way.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    September can be explained because HELLCAT

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Just took our F150 (5.0 V8) on it’s first road trip. What a fantastically comfortable vehicle to travel in. 880 miles, averaged 17.6 mpg. Filled up after getting home for $2.76 a gallon. Suck it OPEC!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      SaulTigh, you have put into print what so many of us who own fullsize pickup trucks for long-distance travel already know.

      I used to drive my 2006 F150 (5.4L) XLT from New Mexico to Southern California in a one-way 13-hour stretch behind the wheel. I never got 17.6mpg though. My mpg was more like <16mpg on the highway.

      Maybe because I cruised at 85mph on I-10/I-8.

      Surprisingly, the 5.7L in my 2011 Tundra returns the same, or better mpg, traveling the same routes. My guess would be the six-speed automatic helps make it so.

      Then again, I don't care about the cost of gas. I admit that I'm addicted because driving beats walking or taking the bus. I like the comfort, ride and handling of a heavy, long-wheel base vehicle.

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