Fuel Economy Gains in July

What you’re looking at here is a sales-weighted fuel economy chart (the numbers in the white boxes represent miles per gallon) that was put together by two diligent researchers, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

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What you’re looking at here is a sales-weighted fuel economy chart (the numbers in the white boxes represent miles per gallon) that was put together by two diligent researchers, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

What they do is look at the vehicles sold in the U.S. during a given month and then calculate the overall fuel economy for the group of vehicles as a whole, using the “window-sticker” fuel economy numbers for the vehicles.

As you’ll notice, in July there is an improvement in fuel efficiency, a number that is the highest its been since August 2014.

This has nothing to do with the fact that there was a 7 percent decrease in July sales compared with sales in 2016 or a four percent decline compared with June 2017.

Rather, the difference, in a word, is trucks.

According to Sivak, “This increase likely reflects the decreased proportion of light trucks in the sales mix in July compared to June.”

And one might argue that may be the case for several other months, as well.

It is interesting to note that fuel economy is up 5.3 mpg since October 2007, when Sivak and Schoettle started putting this chart together.

That’s a better than 26 percent improvement.

What’s startling is to take a look at the 25.4 and then think about 54.5, the number that OEMs might have to reach by 2025 for fuel economy—although this requires a caveat as long as an NBA player’s arm in that the fuel economy standards are predicated on the footprint of vehicles, meaning they are higher for smaller vehicles and lesser for bigger vehicles, to say nothing of credits that companies get for alternative powertrains etc., etc., etc.

That said, there is going to have to be a lot of bigger numbers on that chart sooner rather than later if there is any hope at even getting close within the next eight years.