Higher gas prices, better fuel economy, lower emissions
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute the average fuel economy (the number given on the window sticker) for new vehicles hit a record high in May of 25.6 miles-per-gallon (mph), a 0.4 mpg rise from April. Vehicle fuel efficiency has increased 5.5 mpg since October of 2007, when the Institute began monitoring fuel economy.
The Institute also publishes the Eco-Driving Index (EDI). incorporating vehicle fuel economy and miles driven in its calculations, the EDI is a monthly estimated average of greenhouse gas emissions from an individual driver in the United States. (meaning, of course, that a lower number is better).
In March of 2014 the EDI was 0.78. Put another way, the average new-car buyer produced 22 percent lower emissions than in October of 2007.
According to Director Dr. Michael Sivak the continuing increase in vehicle fuel economy, and the resulting lower emissions, is likely a reflection of the rising cost of gasoline
Image courtesy of Hadley Paul Garland, courtesy flickr