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Gas mileage of new cars at an all-time high

A record number of highly fuel-efficient cars is being snatched up by buyers, according to a University of Michigan study.

By Claire_Martin Nov 6, 2012 1:35PM

(c) MSNGas mileage among the nation’s newest car models is at an all-time high, according to research conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.


The average EPA-rated fuel economy of new cars, light trucks, SUVs and minivans purchased in October was 24.1 mpg, a 20 percent bump from October 2007, when the university began tracking fuel efficiency. Average fuel economy in September 2012 was 23.8 mpg.


"The improvement in fuel economy in the past five years corresponds to a 17 percent reduction in fuel consumption per distance driven," said Michael Sivak, a research professor at the institute.


The new figures are consistent with other reports of increased overall fuel efficiency. The first half of 2012 saw an average of 23.8 mpg in the U.S., which was a 1.1-mpg improvement over the same period in the previous year.


What’s behind the uptick? The number of fuel-efficient models of small and midsized cars and crossovers has doubled since 2009, according to Automotive Fleet. The 2013 Ford Fiesta, for example, gets 38 mpg highway while the Nissan Versa logs 36 mpg.


Those numbers are likely tied to efforts by the federal government to curtail oil consumption. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act was passed, which required cars, light trucks and SUVs to achieve a combined average of 35 mpg by 2020.


Then in 2010, the Transportation Department’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards mandated a 34.1-mpg average efficiency for model year 2016 vehicles. This past August, another set of CAFE requirements set an average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.


[Sources: The New York Times, Union of Concerned Scientists]

Nov 11, 2012 7:38AM
Look, it is not just "new" cars that get good mpg. the late 70's Honda CVCC got some where around 50 to 60 mpg (so former owners say) and my 1995 Mazda/Ford 4cyl ranger get 24mpg..........the best for any small pick-up.........It IS POSSIBLE to have a 4,000lb car get 60 mpg or better. The tech is there, The auto industry and the Petroleum companies are building these cars specifically to use fuel. After all, Exxon/Mobile only makes money if you buy gas.

This is the only real conspiracy in this country.
Nov 7, 2012 5:46AM

"EPA-Rated"? Hasn't it been talked about enough how the Automakers perform the test on many of their own vehicles and a select few are actually tested BY the EPA?

Mayby the Monrooney sticker needs to be updated to show when a cars MPG rating is actually determined by the EPA or by the manufacturer "according to the EPA's testing procedure."

Nov 10, 2012 11:44PM

I rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee and was averaging 26.1 MPG driving up and down the mountains in Colorado while only averaging less than 20 MPG in Las Vegas due to all the stop and go traffic.


It is how a person drives the vehicle that determines the MPG.

Nov 11, 2012 7:44AM
Diesel would raise that figure another 10 mpg

Focus type cars would get 40 city / 50 mpg hwy  not 30 / 38

Mid size SUVs  would get  22 city 28-30 hwy  not  17 /23

Small SUVs  could get 25 city / 34 hwy

3500 lbs Passat TDI  gets 34 city and 42 hwy

5200 lbs BMW  X5 35d  gets  22 city  / 27hwy 

Nov 11, 2012 3:29AM
My Hemi truck can pass everything on the road but a gas station
Nov 11, 2012 11:37AM
Today's diesels are running cleaner than regular gasoline cars. We need diesels with high mileage ratings like Europe. The  diesel engines last a lot longer than gas engines.
Nov 11, 2012 11:18AM
People are so incredibly stupid it is mind numbing.   I drive 59 mph and get 25mpg with a one ton pickup.   I see azzholes everyday driving 85 mph, roaring off the stop lights and passing me to come to an abrupt stop at a red light.  The single biggest factor in mileage is the driver.  Stop blaming the manufacturers or the EPA.  It is your own damned fault.   Slow down a little and start driving with your brains instead of your balls and your mileage will skyrocket.     As a nation we have only ourselves to blame for bad mileage.    
Nov 11, 2012 12:05AM
EPA figures are most valuable for comparing cars. Mileage will certainly vary from driver to driver. The requirements are working, however, to stretch a barrel of oil further. I have a V6 Chevy truck that does an honest 25 on an interstate cruise. That wasn't happening in 1988.
Nov 11, 2012 6:32AM
Nov 11, 2012 9:33AM
HAHAHA.."The government trying to curtail oil consumption"..That's a laugh..The government makes tax money from gasoline on average of 30.5 cents a gallon. There is technology and plenty of european cars out there that get better gas milage than the cars available for sale in the U.S. Might want to ask why they are not allowed to be sold in the U.S. and why the technology isn't utilized in American vehicles...then again...I just answered that question.
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