Fuel economy up
US auto fuel economy increased 3.9 per cent, the largest gain in 26 years, as rising gasoline prices forced consumers to abandon big trucks and turn to fuel-saving alternatives.
The 2007 fleet average climbed to 26.4 miles (42.2km) per gallon from 25.4 mpg a year earlier, according to preliminary figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
‘‘ It’s heartening to see that some car companies are putting useful technology out there,’’ said David Friedman, research director with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington- based environmental group. ‘‘ It’s disappointing we’re not seeing an even faster introduction of fuel-saving technology.’’
US lawmakers are pushing for an increase in mileage standards as a way to cut emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The Senate passed legislation in June requiring cars and light trucks to get 35 mpg starting in 2020. The House is still debating the measure.
Honda Motor Co’s imported cars, with a 39.9 mpg average, topped the 18