U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency has increased only 3 mpg in 80 years

Posted on May 31, 2010 

U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency has increased only 3 mpg in 80 years

Gizmag is always on the lookout for alternative means of powering vehicles and saving precious fossil fuels. But, in truth, the vast majority of us still drive exclusively petrol-powered cars. And the even sadder truth, outlined in a new research from the University of Michigan, is that the average fuel efficiency of a US vehicle has improved only three miles per gallon since the days of the Ford Model T.

Michael Sivak and Omer Tsimhonia, of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, calculated the distance driven and fuel consumed for the entire US fleet of vehicles – incorporating cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses – between 1923 and 2006. Using those numbers, they were then able to analyze fuel efficiency on US roads at any time, and make telling comparisons between eras.

According to Ford, the Model T – which began mass-production in 1913 – averaged a fairly healthy 25 miles to the gallon. Nonetheless, by 1923, the year the study begins, the average fuel efficiency of the entire US fleet was 14 mpg. That figure remained about the same for more than a decade.

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