In the US, Model Year (MY) 2018 vehicle fuel economy was 25.1 miles per gallon, 0.8% higher than the 24.9 miles per gallon MY 2017, according to the annual Automotive Trends Report released by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In model year 2018, the average estimated real-world CO2 emission rate for all new vehicles fell by 4 grams per mile (g/mi) to 353 g/mi, the lowest level measured since 1975, when EPA data collection began.
Since MY 2004, CO2 emissions have decreased 23%, or 108 g/mi, and fuel economy has increased 30%, or 5.8 mpg.
Preliminary data suggest further improvements in model year 2019. Average estimated real-world CO2 emissions are projected to fall 6 g/mi to 346 g/mi and fuel economy is projected to increase 0.4 mpg to 25.5 mpg.
The report found that over the last five years, 11 of the 14 largest manufacturers improved both estimated real-world CO2 emissions and fuel economy of their new vehicle fleets. Tesla improved fuel economy (as measured in miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, or mpge). Two of the fourteen manufacturers (Hyundai and VW) increased CO2 emissions and decreased fuel economy of their new vehicle fleets.
The report shows only manufacturers that produced more than 150,000 vehicles in the last model year; Tesla cross that threshold, and is included with the 13 manufacturers from last year’s report.
Tesla, with its EVs, had by far the lowest tailpipe CO2 emissions—i.e., 0 g/mi—and highest fuel economy, at 113.7 mpge, of all large manufacturers in model year 2018.
The report also assesses compliance performance for individual automakers, and for the US fleet as a whole, with the greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. Only 3 large manufacturers complied with MY 2018 standards based on the technology levels of their vehicles alone. When accounting for credits however, the report shows all large manufacturers are in compliance. Most large manufacturers used banked credits, along with technology improvements, to maintain compliance in MY 2018.
The report also highlights the large consumer shift towards sport utility vehicles (SUV). SUVs continue to gain market share—reaching a record high 46% market share in MY 2019.
Other highlights from the report include:
Since model year 2004, technology has been used to increase fuel economy (up 30%) and power (up 14%), while maintaining vehicle weight and reducing CO2 emissions. Although weight has generally been constant since 2004, a slight increase in model year 2018 resulted in the highest average new vehicle weight on record.
Manufacturers continue to adopt a wide array of advanced technologies.