The Environmental Protection Agency last week reported that model year 2012 cars and trucks will average 23.8 miles per gallon, 1.4 mpg greater than the previous year. UCS notes the vehicles with the best gas mileage were limited to a few manufacturers, however.
Deputy Director of the UCS Clean Vehicles David Friedman said consumers don't have very many options when it comes to efficient cars and trucks.
"Consumers need more options to shield themselves from the high cost of gasoline, options they are starting to get thanks to the fuel economy and emission standards that began to take effect in 2012," he said in a statement.
U.S. consumers this year faced an early season spike in gasoline prices because of market and refinery issues. Prices, however, have declined from recent highs.
Motor group AAA reports Monday that U.S. commuters paid, on average, $3.68 for a gallon of regular unleaded, 15 cents lower than the same time last year.
The U.S. government last year called for the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. President Barack Obama last week called for diverting $2 billion in federal revenue from oil and natural gas royalties to fund research for alternative-fuel vehicles.