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Sierra Daily

Apr 04, 2013

MPG Inches Forward

Pumping gasSo 24.6 miles per gallon may not seem a lot to anyone driving a 50 mpg Prius or a gasoline-free electric car, but it’s the highest national average we’ve ever seen. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has calculated the “average sales-weighted fuel economy” of monthly car sales since 2007, which gives more weight to vehicles that sold in higher volumes. So, for cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks sold in March, the average combined EPA fuel economy was 24.6 compared to just under 21 some five and a half years ago. Not bad, and bound to improve as new fuel economy standards, finalized in 2012, go into effect. Those standards will increase every automaker’s average fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. (That’ll be the automaker’s fleetwide average, not the average of every individual vehicle sold.)

And for more transportation inspiration, watch the short video “Americans Are Driving Less” by Streetfilms (“documenting livable streets worldwide”), which celebrates the news that Americans have been driving fewer and fewer miles per capita since 2005 -- an eight-year trend that began before the economy tanked.

Image by iStock/PhotoTalk.

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

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