EPA Issues 2011 Fuel Economy Trends Report

Fuel economy edges to record high as carbon pollution levels drop to new low. 

The average fuel efficiency for new cars and light duty trucks has increased while the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to decrease for the seventh consecutive year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011.”

“Today’s report shows that we are making significant strides toward saving families money at the pump, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cleaning up the air we breathe,” said Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The historic steps taken by the Obama administration to improve fuel economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil is accelerating this progress, will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.”

For 2010, the last year for which EPA has final data from automakers, the average real world CO2 emissions from new vehicles were 394 grams per mile and the average fuel economy value was 22.6 miles per gallon (mpg). EPA projects an improvement in 2011, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers, to 391 grams of CO2 per mile and 22.8 mpg.

Fuel economy will continue to improve significantly as part of the Obama administration’s historic standards that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The U.S. Department of Transportation and EPA are implementing the first phase of these standards which already improved fuel economy in 2010 and will raise fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg by 2016. These standards will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 result in an average fuel savings of over $8,000 per vehicle. Additionally, these programs will dramatically cut the oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day.

The report also details the growth of more efficient technologies, such as six-speed transmissions, advanced fuel injection, and turbochargers that are making significant inroads into the mainstream market. EPA expects these and other new technologies to become even more popular in the next few years as automakers prepare to meet and fuel economy standards that will further drive up fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

The CO2 emissions and fuel economy values above reflect EPA’s best estimates of real world CO2 emissions and fuel economy performance. They are consistent with the fuel economy estimates that EPA provides on new vehicle window stickers and in the Fuel Economy Guide. These real world fuel economy values are about 20 percent lower, on average, than those used for compliance with the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program.

The new report can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm

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