Are we using less gas? Becoming more efficient? Or just using our smartphones instead?

Sections: Fuel Economy

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Michael Sivak is the Director, Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation research institute.  He recently published a report on fuel economy usage in the US which he estimates has peaked.  Some possibilities include greater vehicle efficiency, but methinks a lot has to do with some other studies that show teenagers covet a new iPhone more than a new Mustang.  It is our job to show those poor, misguided souls the perils of public transportation versus freedom!

According to the abstract “Although the report also presents trends in the total fuel consumption, of primary interest were the fuel-consumption rates per person, per licensed driver, per household, and per several years and decreased by 13% to 17% by 2011. These maxima coincide with the maxima in the distance-driven rates. However, the decreases in the fuel-consumption rates between the peaks and the 2011 values (13% to 17%) are greater than the corresponding decreases in the distance-driven rates (5% to 9%), reflecting the added contribution of the improved vehicle fuel economy.

Because the onsets of the reductions in the distance-driven rates were not the results of

short-term, economic changes, and because of the expected continuation of the improvements

in vehicle fuel economy, the 2004 maxima in the fuel-consumption rates have a good chance of

being long-term peaks as well.

The combined evidence from this and the previous two studies indicates that—per person,

per driver, and per household—we now have fewer light-duty vehicles, we drive each of them

less, and we consume less fuel than in the past: The current fuel-consumption rates are lower

than the corresponding rates in 1984—the first year of this analysis.

The best estimates of the current annual fuel-consumption rates are as follows: 398 gallons

per person, 585 gallons per licensed driver, 1,033 gallons per household, and 530 gallons per

registered vehicle.

The entire report can be read here:

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