WASHINGTON – The U.S. has reached a record miles-per-gallon level without relying on smaller car sales, according to industry analysts Baum & Associates. The organization found that from January to June 2012, the average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles was 23.8 mpg. This number is 1.1 mpg better than the previous record of 22.7 set in 2011.
Baum noted a number of factors driving improved fuel economy. First, there are more fuel-efficient vehicles available, with the number of high-volume models available doubling since 2009 from 28 to 60. These types of vehicles include small cars, midsize cars, and crossovers, Baum stated.
Another finding was that the actual improvements in fuel economy are exceeding current federal regulations (for example, current and upcoming CAFE standards). Based on the year-to-date sales data from model year 2012 (from October 2011 to June 2012), as tracked by the University of Michigan, the U.S. fleet fuel efficiency average could exceed government regulators' predictions of a fleet-wide average of 23.4 mpg for the 2012 model-year.