The University of Michigan's monthly fuel
economy index for August indicates American opted for more fuel-efficient vehicles during
August in response to an increase in fuel prices.
The average fuel
economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in August was 23.8 miles per
gallon --up 0.2 mpg from July, and up 3.7 mpg or 18 percent from October 2007, according to the
University of Michigan's Eco-Driving Index. "The improvement from July to
August most likely reflects the increased price of gasoline," U-M analysts
August sales figures showed that pickup
trucks sales also increased during August. But while pickup trucks remain a key
tool in American economic life, fuel-economy is now a key factor in consumers
ultimate choice. The U-M index, despite a dip earlier in the summer when the
price of gasoline dropped in many parts of the country, has continued to creep
upward for most of the year, suggesting consumers are looking for greater fuel
efficiency in the face of rising fuel costs.
In addition, manufacturers such as Hyundai and
Ford have promoted the efficiency of their new vehicles, touching off a what
once Honda executive described recently as a 'fuel-economy arms race."
Several manufacturers now offer vehicles that get better than 40 miles per
gallon, a figure unheard of as recently as three years ago.
The U-M Eco-Driving Index (EDI)--an index also
indicates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S.
driver--stood at 0.82 in June (unchanged from May but an improvement of 18
percent since October 2007). The EDI takes into account both vehicle fuel
economy and distance drivenI.
The average sales-weighted fuel economy
was calculated from the monthly sales of individual models of light-duty
vehiclesand the combined city/highway
fuel-economy ratings published in the EPA Fuel Economy Guide
for the respective models. For both monthly and model year averages,
sales-weighted means were calculated. By Joseph Szczesny