U.S. Auto Fuel Economy at All-Time High

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual report on U.S. automobiles’ fuel economy today, and the preliminary projections for model year 2012 cars is the highest ever — 23.8 miles per gallon. Carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 374 grams per mile. Final figures for model year 2011 cars came in a 22.4 miles per gallon with CO2 emissions of 398 grams per mile.

Among the highlights in this year’s report:

  • Fuel economy values and CO2 emission rates are continuing on a multiyear, downward trend begun in 2005. Since model year 2007, fuel economy has risen 16% and CO2 emissions have fallen by 13%.
  • The adoption of new technologies continues to improve mileage ratings and improvements in CO2 emissions. The EPA notes that “the majority of the carbon and oil savings from current vehicles is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies.” This makes sense, of course, because the vast majority of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads are gasoline powered.
  • Automakers now offer a wider array of choices in terms of vehicle types with more efficient engines. The number of SUVs, pickups, minivans and vans that now offer mileage ratings greater than 20 miles per gallon has risen by 71% since model year 2007. Given a choice, consumers choose overall value.
  • Nearly 25% of model year 2012 vehicles already meet 2016 CO2 emissions goals.

The EPA report is available here.

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