Fuel economy varies by season, study finds

Light truck sales (relative to car sales) are highest in the fall and early winter, and that’s when fuel economy of all light-duty vehicles sold is lowest. Those are the conclusions of a recent study from the University of Michigan. When more light trucks are sold, overall fuel economy goes down.

That is what auto industry representatives have been telling the Environmental Protection Agency since it reopened the midterm assessment of the fuel economy rules drawn up in 2012: With the shift in consumer purchase patterns toward SUVs and light trucks, it will be harder to meet the more stringent fuel economy standards.

The Michigan researchers found the reverse is true, too: Overall fuel economy is highest during spring and summer, when more passenger cars are sold.

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