Average fuel efficiency of American cars hit new high in January
American drivers who are looking for lease specials on fuel-efficient cars got good news this month when a study found that the fuel economy of new vehicles sold in January was at a record high.
The statistic combined driving figures for autos ranging from the Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Jetta to Ram pickup trucks and BMW X5 SUVs.
Altogether, the average fuel economy of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased last month was 23 miles per gallon, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
That efficiency ties the all-time monthly record set in March 2011, thanks to a big jump over the comparable December figure. Gas mileage improved by 4 percent for its greatest monthly increase since the university started compiling figures in 2007.
Automakers have been improving their efficiency quickly, as they prepare to meet more ambitious fuel economy requirements being weighed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Just four years ago, the average economy was 2.5 miles per gallon lower than the latest mark. With gas prices continuing their steady climb, that difference is enough to make a big difference in the wallets of most vehicle lease shoppers.
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