Fuel Economy Improvements Present Throughout Model Year Lineups

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) announced that average fuel economy between 2008 and 2014 model year vehicles increased by 4.5 mpg. Now, they’ve shown that those increases were present throughout sales-weighted distributions for the same model year vehicles. This means that not only was fuel economy improving overall, but it was improving in every type of vehicle being sold so that it wasn’t just that automakers were creating more fuel efficient vehicles to bolster their lineup, but were actually improve MPGs on nearly all of their vehicles.

The chart below shows the difference between 2008 and 2014 model year vehicles by fuel economy spread. Note the number that lept into the 32-33 mpg range and how the lower range 12-16 mpg shrunk, pushing into the 16+ ranges instead.


About 24% of consumers bought new 2008 vehicles with fuel economy between 11 mpg and 17 mpg, and 26% purchased vehicles with mpg between 17 and 20. Six years later, less than 9% of car buyers bought a new 2014 model with fuel economy less than 17 mpg. Another 19% drove new cars that averaged between 17 mpg and 20 mpg.

While about 35% of new vehicles sold in 2008 had average fuel economy between 20 mpg and 26 mpg, compared to roughly 31% for model year 2014, huge improvements were made in the sales of fuel-efficient cars, the researchers say.

Nearly 41% of new-car buyers bought 2014 vehicles with mpg of at least 26, including 27% who purchased vehicles averaging at least 30 mpg. In 2008, the corresponding figures were 15% and 5%, respectively.

Overall, average fuel economy for light-duty vehicles improved from 20.8 mpg for model year 2008 to 25.3 mpg for model year 2014. Read the full report here.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.