The Drive will keep you up to speed with the latest on Twin Cities commuting.

Gas prices down, fuel economy up

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2013 - 11:02 AM

Gas prices are on the downward slide, at least temporarily, as the average price in the metro area as dropped to $3.34 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, a daily survey of gas stations throughout the state and the nation.

That's 13 cents cheaper than it was last week, the report said.

While gas prices are sinking, we are also going farther on a gallon of gas. According to researchers at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the United States hit an all-time high in August.

The average fuel economy of new cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs bought in August hit 24.9 miles per gallon, the highest mark ever said researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. Overall gas mileage on new vehicles has risen from 20.1 miles per gallon in October of 2007 to 24.9 miles per gallon in August 2013.

As for vehicle emissions, there is still room for improvement, the researchers say. The Eco-Driving Index registered .81 on a scale where 1.00 is the high water mark. That means the lower the value the better.

The EDI is a national index that estimates the average monthly amount of greenhouse gases produced by an individual driver who has purchased a new light-duty vehicle that month. The EDI estimates the amount of fuel used (and thus the amount of greenhouse gases emitted) by taking into account two primary variables: the fuel economy of the vehicle and the distance driven.

However, the EDI is down by 19 percent since October 2007, the researchers said.

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