The American people have been a forgetful bunch at times. When gas prices are down, sales of SUVs and trucks would spike. When they go up, sales would plummet and there would be a glut of used trucks/SUVs on the market. Today we’re seeing a lot more consistency as everyone adjusts to a reality of gas near the $4 gallon mark.
However, when gas dipped earlier this year, so did average fuel economy numbers. Gas has been rising recently heading into the Labor Day driving season. Automotive News reports that the average fuel economy of vehicles in August went up as well – by 18 percent, to 23.8 mpg.
That is a 3.7 mpg increase over October 2007 when the Transportation Research Institute first began tracking this data. There are more car-based crossovers and fuel-efficient compacts today than there were four years ago. however, TRI reports that sales of SUVS and trucks are continuing despite high gas prices, with a 13 percent rise in deliveries last month. Buyers are still seeing savings as these trucks and SUVs post better results than the models they are replacing. THe majority of buyers are moving to cars though, as (light vehicles) saw an even bigger jump than trucks, to 20 percent.
The overall number is up because the American fleet of vehicles is seeing big jumps in efficiency. That comes thanks to features like turbocharging, direct injection, start/stop technology and things like reductions in vehicle weight. If this trend continues the number will continue to accelerate upward. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius really help to bring up these numbers as well. Ford is going to be joining the market in full force once the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi go on sale. It’s really good to see automakers responding to buyer needs in developing a range of vehicles with improved fuel economy.