University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Stateside
5:12 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Record high reached for fuel economy in the US; what comes next?

Credit carhumor.com

There was an encouraging report last month from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute about fuel economy.

We hit a record high in February in terms of gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the U.S.: 25.2 miles per gallon. It's the fifth-straight month gas mileage for new vehicles has topped 25 mpg.

That got us wondering how we're faring in the quest to squeeze out better mileage from our cars and trucks, and in the quest to create electric, hybrid, natural gas and fuel-cell vehicles and technologies.

Charles Griffith is the climate and energy program director at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Transportation
4:11 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

New study indicates that Americans drive less than they used to

People are driving less, according to a recent Umich study.
Zelda Richardson

A new study from the University of Michigan suggests that Americans who drive light-duty vehicles (cars, SUVS, pick-up trucks, and vans) don't drive as far as they used to. 

The study, from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (MTRI), was published this month, and looks at national driving trends from 1984-2011. 

According to MTRI's findings, the distance people drove peaked in 2004. Distances were evaluated based on how much a person, a licensed driver, a household and a registered vehicle traveled. 

The major takeaway from the study is that because distances decreased before the 2008 recession, the lower numbers weren't a result of a short-term issue. Essentially, the lower distances driven seem to be a part of a longer term trend. 

Read more
Auto/Economy
3:00 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Record-breaking March for fuel-efficient car sales

user BrokenSphere wikimedia commons

The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the US reached an all-time high last month.

That's according to a recently-released report from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

A U of M press release has more:

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased in March was 24.1 mpg, up from 23.9 in February and 23.6 in January, and now 20 percent (4 mpg) higher than October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

The Detroit News reports that US automakers have also noticed this trend:

General Motors Co. said last week that its 12 vehicles getting 30 mpg or better on the highway had combined U.S. sales of about 100,000 for March — the automaker's highest ever monthly total.

"Three years ago, about 16 percent of the vehicles GM sold achieved at least 30 mpg on the highway. Today, that number is about 40 percent," said GM North America President Mark Reuss.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

More older, fewer younger drivers
1:34 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Older drivers on road increase as younger drivers decrease

A new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute indicates that older drivers are hanging onto their licenses for a longer period of time - while the number of young people with drivers' licenses is falling.

Both trends have safety implications.

Eighty percent of 18-year-olds had a driver's license in 1983.  That number had fallen to 65 percent by 2008.

Younger drivers tend to have more accidents.  So fewer of them who drive could make the nation's roads safer.

Read more