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Harsh Winter Driving Rise In Average MPG

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute say gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. slipped last month thanks in part to this year’s harsh winter.

Average fuel economy of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased in February was 25.2 mpg, down from 25.4 mpg in January and now just 0.1 mpg higher than a year ago.

Research professor Michael Sivak says the decrease in fuel economy likely reflects the increased market share of light trucks, SUVs and crossovers in response to the inclement winter weather in a large part of the country.

Overall, vehicle fuel economy is still up 5.1 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring by Sivak and colleague Brandon Schoettle.

Sivak and Schoettle normally issue a monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver but it’s not yet available due to a delay in the release of the underlying vehicle distance data.

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