EPA Reports Fifth Consecutive Annual Increase in US New Vehicle Fuel Economy; Up 9% Since 2004, Back to Levels of Early 1980s
|Adjusted CO2 emissions and adjusted fuel economy by model year. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
For the fifth consecutive year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting an increase in new vehicle fuel efficiency with a corresponding decrease in average carbon dioxide emissions for new US cars and light duty trucks. This marks the first time that data for CO2 emissions are included in the annual report, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2009.
For 2008, the last year for which EPA has final data from automakers, the average fuel economy value was 21.0 mpg US (11.2 L/100km). EPA projects a small improvement in 2009, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers, to 21.1 mpg (11.1 L/100km). The projected fleetwide average real world MY2009 light-duty vehicle CO2 emissions level is 422 grams per mile (g/mi); the fleetwide average MY2008 value is 424 g/mi.
|Characteristics of light-duty vehicles for four select model years. Source: EPA|
The report confirms that average CO2 emissions have decreased and fuel economy has increased each year beginning in 2005. Average CO2 emissions have decreased by 39 grams per mile, or 8%, and average fuel economy has increased by 1.8 mpg, or 9%, since 2004. This positive trend beginning in 2005 reverses a long period of increasing CO2 emissions and decreasing fuel economy from 1987 through 2004, and returns CO2 emissions and fuel economy to levels of the early 1980s.
Other findings in the report include:
Light trucks, which include SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks, have accounted for about 50% of the US light-duty vehicle market since MY2002. After two decades of constant growth, light truck market share has been relatively stable from 2002 through 2009. The MY2009 light truck market share is projected to be 49%, based on pre-model year production projections by automakers.
Automotive engineers are constantly developing more advanced and efficient vehicle technologies. From 1987 through 2004, on a fleetwide basis, this technology innovation was utilized exclusively to support market-driven attributes other than CO2 emissions and fuel economy, such as vehicle weight (which supports vehicle content and features), performance, and utility. Beginning in MY2005, technology has been used to increase both fuel economy (which has reduced CO2 emissions) and performance, while keeping vehicle weight relatively constant.
Seven of the nine highest-selling marketing groups increased fuel economy (which also reduced CO2 emissions) from MY2007 to MY2008. Preliminary values suggest that four of the nine marketing groups will increase fuel economy (thereby reducing CO2 emissions) in MY2009, and one marketing group will maintain constant levels, based on projected production provided to EPA by automakers prior to the start of the model year. Actual MY2009 values will likely be different than the preliminary MY2009 values reported.
Preliminary MY2009 values suggest that Honda will continue to have the lowest fleetwide CO2 emissions (and highest fuel economy), followed closely by Hyundai-Kia and Toyota. Chrysler is projected to have the highest MY2009 CO2 emissions, reversing most of its gains from the previous year. Ford is projected to show the largest CO2 reductions, with its projected MY2009 CO2 emissions being 37 g/mi lower than MY2007 and 25 g/mi lower than MY2008. Ford and General Motors are the two marketing groups that showed improvement in MY2008 and are projected to do so again in MY2009.
Hybrids are projected to have 1.8% share of MY2009 sales, diesels 0.5%.
The latest CO2 emissions and fuel economy values 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% lower, on average, than those used for compliance with the corporate average fuel economy program under DOT.