US Auto Fuel Economy Rating Dips Again in September

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The average fuel-economy rating for new vehicles sold in the United States in September 2016 was 25.2 miles per gallon (mpg), down 0.1 mpg compared with the August average. For all of 2015, the average fuel-economy rating for new vehicles sold was 25.3 mpg.

Compared with October 2007, fuel economy ratings on new cars sold has improved by 5.1 miles per gallon, or about 26%.

While the window sticker average is 5.1 mpg higher than when the data were first collected, the average is still 0.6 mpg below its all-time high of 25.8 mpg set in August 2014. When gasoline prices started dropping in the United States, consumers purchased more light trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers, which get lower mpg ratings and drive down the average.

The data is based on the average sales-weighted fuel-economy rating printed on a new car’s window sticker and is compiled by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

The sales-weighted unadjusted Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) performance rating averaged 31.3 miles per gallon in September, down 0.2 mpg month over month and an improvement of 6.5 mpg since October 2007. These values are not directly comparable to the window-sticker ratings because these are adjusted by the EPA and used to derive the window-sticker ratings.

Auto sales in the month of September fell 0.7% year over year to 1.434 million units. On a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis, the total rose sharply from 16.97 million units in August to 117.74 million units in September. In September 2015 the SAAR came in at 18.04 million units.

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