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EPA: preliminary data show average fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles reached a record high of 25.7 MPG in 2020

Preliminary data in EPA’s 2020 Automotive Trends Report shows average fuel economy for model year 2020 light-duty vehicles increased to 25.7 miles per gallon (MPG). If this preliminary data holds, that will be a new record high for average new light-duty vehicle fuel economy.

The period from 1975–1987 was marked by a rapid increase in average fuel economy, followed by a gradual decrease in fuel economy from 1988–2004. From 2005–2020 average fuel economy rose by 29%.

All data in this report for model years 1975 through 2019 are final and based on official data submitted to EPA and NHTSA as part of the regulatory process. In some cases, this report will show data for model year 2020, which are preliminary and based on data provided to EPA by automakers prior to the model year, including projected production volumes. Given that the preliminary data was reported before the COVID-19 outbreak and response, that preliminary data may change significantly, EPA said.

Other major highlights from the Trends Report include:

  • MY 2019 new vehicle estimated real-world CO2 emissions increased slightly from the record low for MY 2018. The MY 2019 new vehicle emission rate increased 3 g/mi to 356 g/mi. Fuel economy decreased by 0.2 miles per gallon to 24.9 mpg, or slightly below the record high achieved in model year 2018.

  • Average estimated real-world CO2 emissions are projected to fall 12 g/mi to 344 g/mi for MY 2020, and fuel economy is projected to increase 0.8 mpg to 25.7 mpg.

  • All vehicle types are at or near record low CO2 emissions; however, market shifts away from cars and towards sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups have offset some of the fleetwide benefits. Sedans and wagons fell to 33% of the market, well below the 50% market share they held as recently as model year 2013, and far below the 80% market share they held in 1975. Conversely, truck SUVs reached a record 37% of the market in model year 2019, car SUVs reached a record 12% of the market, and pickups have increased in recent years to 16% of the market.

  • Average new vehicle horsepower continues to increase rapidly, while weight is increasing slowly.

  • Manufacturers continue to adopt a wide array of advanced technologies.


    Source: EPA 2020 Automotive Trends Report

  • Most large manufacturers used banked or purchased credits to maintain compliance in MY 2019. Manufacturers used different combinations of technology improvements, banked credits, and purchased credits to achieve compliance in 2019. Tesla, Honda, and Subaru achieved compliance based on the emission performance of their vehicles, without requiring additional banked credits. All other large manufacturers used banked or purchased credits, along with technology improvements, to achieve compliance in model year 2019.

  • The overall industry used credits for the fourth year in a row to maintain compliance, but there is a large bank or credits for future years.


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