Therefore, the researchers found out that cars improved economy by 2.8 mpg, light trucks by 1.6, while full-sized vans saw the smallest increase (only 0.2 mpg).
Automatic transmission vehicles increased by 2.5 mpg and manual transmission vehicles by a comparable 2.8 mpg. Diesels, in general, grew their fuel economy by a whopping 9.8 mpg and gasoline vehicles only by 2.6 mpg.
The disappointment comes from hybrids, which despite technological achievements actually dropped 3 mpg probably because of their wider range available now, compared to 2008 and because new models include SUVs and vans, which tend to sink the numbers a bit.
These figures are only for the United States. Europe, on the other hand, has had double the mpg since the 90’s, so the technology has been there, but has not been used in the U.S. maybe just because economical interests didn’t allow that and people accepted, blinded by the imposing image of big trucks and muscle cars – the American “symbol”.
Now, when the world confronts maybe the harshest economical crisis of the last 100 years, people in the U.S. and the world are tempted to buy not the most powerful cars but the most economical ones (or somewhere in between): “Consumers tend to choose vehicle models with better fuel economy than the average of all vehicles available,” said Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute. “The recent economic downturn, coupled with rising gas prices, has led to an increased interest in purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles.”