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Fuel economy in new vehicles reaches record high

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The average fuel economy for U.S. built vehicles reached a new high in May, at 24.8 miles per gallon. This is good news for drivers when gas station signs are showing prices near and above $4 a gallon.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) says consumers are not only being more fuel-efficient savvy, but car companies are listening.

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"Vehicle purchasers are going in and asking, demanding better fuel economy from their vehicles," UMTRI's Brandon Schoettle said, "But the auto companies are, too, putting out better vehicles across the board."

This increase in fuel economy follows a national trend since 2007, when the national average was 4.7 miles per gallon lower. However, the past three months have been higher than ever.

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It's not just the small cars that show better fuel economy. According to UMTRI, consumers who buy the same type of car, same company and name plate, as they did a few years ago, will have better gas mileage now. Whether looking for it or not, the new vehicles straight out of the factory will give at least a few extra miles per gallon.

"Even the biggest vehicles fuel economy is improving," Schoettle explained, "So even if you have someone who is, you know, a die-hard pick-up truck or sedan buyer, their fuel economy is still improving year after year." 

One of the most influential factors in the rising fuel economy is in response to the staggering gas prices. According to CNN Money, these gas prices are "as good as they'll get" for the rest of the summer. UMTRI expects cars to become even more fuel-efficient in the years to come, continuing the rising fuel efficiency trend.

-Alana Holland, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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