Average fuel economy for U.S. vehicles set a record 24.8 miles per gallon in calender year 2013. This is up one gallon over 2012 and an increase of 4.7 mpg since October 2007, the month and year the University of Michigan Transportation Institute began monitoring fuel economy. The increase in fuel economy can be partly attributed to the growing number of electric vehicles and hybrids on the road. Sales climbed to 578,000 units in 2013, up more than 10,000 units from 2012, which represents around 3.7 percent of all new car sales last year.
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Toyota‘s family of Prius vehicles topped the hybrid and electric rankings, selling 344,892 units in 2013. Ford placed second with a 146 percent increase in EV and hybrid sales, moving 87,771 units. General Motors‘ introduction of the Chevrolet Spark EV didn’t help the auto company as hybrid and EV sales actually dropped 15 percent to 48,724. Hyundai had a great year, selling more than 22,500 Sonata hybrids last year. Nissan‘s all-electric LEAF enjoyed another big year as well, averaging around 3,000 sales a month.
In addition to tracking average U.S. fuel economy, the University of Michigan’s Eco-Driving Index estimates the average monthly greenhouse gas emissions produced by individual U.S. drivers. That figure stands at 0.80, which is an improvement of 20 percent since October 2007.
“I am not surprised that overall fuel economy is improving,” said Michael Sivak, research professor at the University of Michigan Transportation Institute. “Buyers are selecting more fuel-efficient vehicles within each class of vehicles.”
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