The popularity of large utility vehicles and pickups has caused the average fuel economy of new vehicles to dip this year.
The surge in demand for pickups, utility vehicles and other light trucks has taken a toll on fuel economy. For the first time since it started tracking the numbers, the mileage of the typical vehicle sold in the U.S. dipped slightly this year, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. But the mpg ratings for many vehicles are expected to take an even bigger hit for 2017.
With the Environmental Protection Agency revising its testing procedures for the new model-year, about 30% of all new models will see at least a modest dip in their reported fuel economy, according to a study by website Cars.com. In some cases, the impact will be significant. The 2017 Volkswagen Passat, for example, will suffer a 4 mpg dip in its highway rating, and a 2 mpg decline in its combined number.
The change in the way the EPA calculates fuel economy could make it difficult for shoppers who were hoping to consider this year’s figures to those from 2016. And it could paper over what, in some cases, might be an actual improvement in fuel efficiency by some models. (more…)