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EPA annual trends report finds new vehicle fuel economy at record 24.1 mpg; new powertrain technologies rapidly gaining share

EPA released the latest edition of its annual report on trends in CO2 emissions, fuel economy and powertrain technology for new personal vehicles in the US. Among the top-level findings was that Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 mpg (9.76 l/100 km)—a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years; average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 g/mile in model year 2013. The majority of the carbon and oil savings from current vehicles is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies, the report observed.

The report, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2014”, also found that the light truck market share increased slightly in MY 2013, after several years of volatility; that the vehicle weight trend is flat and vehicle power trend is increasing more slowly; that many new powertrain technologies are rapidly gaining market share; and that consumers have an increasing number of high fuel economy/low CO2 vehicle choices.

The report also noted that:

Since alternative fuel vehicle production [CNG, PHEVs and EVs] has generally been less than 0.1% of total vehicle production until very recently, the impact of excluding alternative fuel vehicles was negligible. However, with alternative fuel vehicles now approaching 1% of new vehicle production, these vehicles are in fact beginning to have a measurable and meaningful impact on overall new vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

The EPA report is the authoritative reference for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, fuel economy, and powertrain technology trends for new personal vehicles in the United States. The detailed data supporting the report were obtained directly from automobile manufacturers. These data have been collected and maintained by EPA since 1975, and comprise the most comprehensive database of its kind. The Trends report has been published annually since 1975 and covers all passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, minivans, and all but the largest pickup trucks and vans.

Adjusted fuel economy distribution by model year. Since 1975, half of car production has consistently been within several mpg of each other. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

Fuel economy. The final MY 2013 adjusted, real world CO2 emissions rate for all light-duty gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles is 369 g/m—a 7 g/mi decrease relative to MY 2012. MY 2013 adjusted fuel economy is 24.1 mpg, which is 0.5 mpg higher than MY 2012.

Both values represent records since the database began in MY 1975, and likely are historical records as well. The average MY 2013 adjusted fuel economy for cars is 27.6 mpg (0.6 mpg higher than MY 2012), and for trucks is 19.8 mpg (annual increase of 0.5 mpg), both of which are all-time highs.

Adjusted CO2 emissions, adjusted fuel economy and other key parameters by vehicle type. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

Of the five light-duty vehicle types, cars have the highest average adjusted fuel economy of 28.3 mpg (8.3 l/100 km), followed by car SUVs at 24.5 mpg (9.6 l/100 km). Car SUVs (SUVs that must meet car GHG and fuel economy standards) and truck SUVs had the highest annual improvement from MY 2012 to MY 2013 of 1.1 and 0.9 mpg, respectively. Based on longer term trends since MY 2004, truck SUVs have the largest cumulative percentage fuel economy improvement of 27%, followed by both cars and car SUVs at 23%.

For the first time, CO2 emissions and fuel economy have improved in eight out of nine consecutive years, reversing a long negative trend from MY 1987 through MY 2004. Based on the final data through MY 2013, CO2 emissions have decreased by 92 g/mi, or 20%, since MY 2004, and fuel economy has increased by 4.8 mpg, or 25%, with an average annual improvement of about 0.5 mpg per year.

Preliminary MY 2014 adjusted values are 367 g/mi CO2 emissions and 24.2 mpg fuel economy, which would represent a slight improvement over MY 2013. These MY 2014 projections, based on production estimates provided by automakers in early 2013, are uncertain and EPA will not have final data until next year’s report.

Light truck market share. The light truck share of the light-duty vehicle market affects many important fleet-wide metrics since light trucks on average have higher CO2 emissions, worse fuel economy, and higher weight, horsepower, and footprint than cars. Light trucks accounted for 37% of all light-duty vehicle production in MY 2013—a 1% increase relative to MY 2012.

Light truck market share had been more variable in recent years, e.g., truck share changed by 4% or more in each year for MY 2009-2012, with two years of increases and two years of decreases.

The MY 2014 light truck market share is projected to increase by 2%, based on pre-model year projections by automakers.

Changes in market share from MY 2009 to MY 2014 for several key gasoline and diesel engine and transmission technologies. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

Technologies. The EPA report highlights the growth in two engine technologies first introduced more than 20 years ago: variable valve timing (VVT) and multi-valve engines. Both these technologies are projected to be used on nearly all MY 2014 vehicles.

Top: Engine power and displacement. EPA notes that “One of the most remarkable trends over the course of this report is the increase in vehicle power since the early 1980s.” Bottom: Percent change for specific engine metrics. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines have increased market share nearly ten-fold from 4% in MY 2009 to 38% in MY 2014. Turbochargers, which are often used in conjunction with GDI, have increased market share by a factor of five since MY 2009.

Transmissions with 6 or more speeds and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) cumulatively accounted for 37% of vehicle production in MY 2009, but are projected to exceed 90% market share in MY 2014. CVTs and advanced transmissions with 7 or more speeds are projected to reach 30% market penetration in MY 2014.

Non-hybrid stop/start systems represent about 5% of the projected MY 2014 market. Accounting for hybrids, stop/start systems are used on more than 8% of MY 2014 vehicles.

“Vehicles meeting the MY 2025 CO2 targets are comprised solely of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles.”

Compared to the engine and transmission technologies discussed above, there has been far less growth in the absolute production shares of cylinder deactivation (CD), hybrid and diesel powertrains.

However, in MY 2014, there are twice as many diesel and nearly twice as many hybrid offerings as there were in MY 2009. There are also now more than 20 electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, a significant increase over MY 2009.

Since MY 2004, the difference in fuel economy between the average hybrid midsize car and the average non-hybrid midsize gasoline car has narrowed from about 24 mpg to 15 mpg. The primary reason for this trend is continued improvements to the internal combustion engine. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

34% of projected MY 2014 vehicle production already meets the MY 2016 CO2 emissions targets, or can meet these targets with the addition of future expected air conditioning improvements. The bulk of this production share is accounted for by non-hybrid gasoline vehicles, although other technologies are also represented.

About 4% of projected MY 2014 production could meet the MY 2025 CO2 emissions targets. The only current vehicles meeting the MY 2025 CO2 targets are hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles. Since the MY 2025 standards are over a decade away, there’s considerable time for continued improvements in gasoline vehicle technology, EPA noted.

OEMs. Nine of the eleven main manufacturers increased average gasoline and diesel vehicle fuel economy from MY 2012 to MY 2013. In MY 2013, Mazda had the lowest fleet-wide adjusted composite CO2 emissions and highest adjusted fuel economy performance, followed by Honda and Subaru.

Chrysler-Fiat had the highest CO2 emissions and lowest fuel economy, followed by GM. Nissan had the biggest improvement in adjusted CO2 emissions performance from MY 2012 to MY 2013, followed by Daimler. Nissan also had the biggest fuel economy improvement from MY 2012 to MY 2013, followed by Subaru. Ford and Toyota had higher CO2 emissions and lower fuel economy in MY 2013, both driven by increases in truck production share.

In terms of individual technologies, BMW has the highest projected production share for turbocharging (96%) and non-hybrid stop/start (75%); Daimler for transmissions with 7 or more gears (99%); Toyota for hybrids (15%); and Volkswagen for diesels (20%). BMW, Daimler, and Kia are projected to use gasoline direct injection engines in about 90% of their fleets, General Motors and Honda are projected to use cylinder deactivation in about 35% of their production, and Subaru and Nissan are projected to use continuously variable transmissions in about 85% of their fleets.




The apparent lack of gain in the hybrid section is somewhat puzzling. The gain in traditional vehicles is rather miniscule. I wonder at what point the car companies will actually start producing any real quantity of plug-ins and EVs. I suppose they hope that the republicans can turn back the cafe standards again. I think that is unlikely. I will grant that the typical american is rather sheepish and disconnected from reality. They're probably overcome with fear too of ISIS or Ebola, which has them paralyzed and incapable of focused thought.


The way the Oil situation has developed where Oil & Gas is being discovered and produced around the World both adding centuries of reserves and now increasingly being produced from depths where dinosaurs never roamed.

The Abiotic Theory as a source of Oil is being proved more and more,every day, and with it planetary reserves of far greater magnitudes.

So hydrocarbons are suddenly not in any danger of becoming scarce, in the next several centuries.

The rapid way the over-exagerated Hoax of CAGW is collapsing, we will soon be able to return to chasing after and cleaning up real, genuine toxic emissions. I fully support making ICE autos as emissions free as EVs, the automakers have advocated and EPA is tightening regulations to do.

The tiny 3-4% that Mankind adds of CO2 is wonderful plant food, needed to feed our forests and agricultural harvests, which have been starved of enough of it for eons, since they evolved. NAFTAites already bio-sequestrate every gram of Mankind originated CO2, as well as the vast majority of CO2 that Nature annually produces. Our forests and croplands cry out for more. Lets continue to Green the PLanet, as we have been doing.

Already the average American new car buyer needs to be in his fifties, with a lifetime of savings, before that average buyer can afford to purchase a new auto. All the auto makers know and fear the results, as mandated technologies drive up the price of autos.

Lengthening auto loans have been extended to 8-10 years, and can't go out any longer; and spending home equity on car purchases, collapsed in the real estate bust of the Great Recession.

Hopefully by 2017-18 or so, we can relax this mad crash program to produce ever more expensive transport, that the population increasingly cannot afford to purchase.

We can resume an orderly advance in technological solutions, as the technologies mature and not produce these unsaleable technological Tour de Force demonstration vehicles, that are madly premature and under-developed.

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