Fuel Economy Matters

“This implies that consumers tend to choose vehicle models with better fuel economy than the average of all vehicles available.” That’s Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute on findings he and his colleague Michael Sivak made when examining the fuel economy of 2012 light-duty vehicles in comparison with the fuel economy of vehicles actually purchased.

“This implies that consumers tend to choose vehicle models with better fuel economy than the average of all vehicles available.”

That’s Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute on findings he and his colleague Michael Sivak made when examining the fuel economy of 2012 light-duty vehicles in comparison with the fuel economy of vehicles actually purchased.

They found that whereas the average miles per gallon (mpg) for vehicles offered for sale is 21.5 mpg, the mpg for the vehicles actually purchased is 22.5.

Meaning, people are buying for fuel economy.

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[Photo: BP p.l.c.]

What’s interesting to note that while there have been but slow and steady increases in the price of a gallon of gas of late, which tends to have the effect of “put the frog in the cold pan of water, turn on the heat, and . . .”, some analysts project that given factors ranging from a possible problem in the Middle East (think of a blockage in the Strait of Hormuz) to the actual increase in demand from the Chinese market, gas prices may leap in the not-too-distant future.

Which makes you wonder whether the recent rise in light-truck and SUV sales (e.g., Jeep brand sales were up 44% in 2011 vs. 2010, although it should be noted that the somewhat diminutive Compass saw a rise of 200%, so even there people are thinking smaller) will be sustained or whether the small car phenomenon will take hold in a very real way.