The numbers reflect the fact that the number of US hybrid and diesel models has doubled in the last five years, thanks to automakers expanding their line-ups. Last year, alt-fuel vehicle sales jumped 63 percent to more than 540,000 vehicles, while plug-in vehicle sales roughly tripled to about 50,000 vehicles.
The EPA report echoes similar findings from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which earlier this year said fleetwide fuel-economy advanced 1.3 miles per gallon to a record 23.8 MPG. And UMTRI said in a separate report early last month that January's average new-vehicle fuel economy continued to increase to a monthly record of 24.5 miles per gallon.
David Friedman, the senior engineer and deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles program, said in a statement that the progress is good, but more needs to be done. "With high gas prices the new norm, the average model year 2011 vehicle will cost its owners almost as much to fill up over its lifetime as it did to purchase it," he said. "Consumers need more options to shield themselves from the high cost of gasoline."
WASHINGTON – Today, EPA released its annual report that tracks the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States, underscoring the major increases made in the efficiency of the vehicles Americans drive, reducing oil consumption and cutting carbon emissions. According to the report, EPA estimates that between 2007 and 2012 fuel economy values increased by 16 percent while carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have decreased by 13 percent, and in 2012 alone the report indicates a significant one year increase of 1.4 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and trucks.
"Today's report shows that we are making 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 are accelerating this progress, will spur economic growth and will create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America."
The expected 1.4 mpg improvement in 2012 is based on sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers. EPA's projections show a reduction in CO2 emissions to 374 grams per mile and an increase in average fuel economy to 23.8 mpg. These numbers represent the largest annual improvements since EPA began reporting on fuel economy.
Fuel economy is expected to continue improving significantly under the Obama administration's historic National Clean Car Program standards. The program cuts greenhouse gas emissions and would double fuel economy standards by 2025. The standards will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 will result in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 per vehicle. The program will also save 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 will reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day.
EPA's annual "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2012" attributes the improvements to the rapid adoption of more efficient technologies, the increasing number of high fuel economy choices for consumers, and the fact that many automakers are already selling vehicles that can meet more stringent future fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. The report indicates that the projected gains for 2012 more than make up for a slight dip in fuel economy in 2011.
Compared to five years ago, consumers have twice as many hybrid and diesel vehicle choices, a growing set of plug-in electric vehicle options, and a six-fold increase in the number of car models with combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or higher.
The new report can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm
EPA Projects Highest Ever Fuel Economy in 2012, But It's Just the Beginning
Statement by David Friedman, Senior Engineer & Deputy Director, Clean Vehicles Program
WASHINGTON (March 15, 2013) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is projecting model year 2012 cars and truck will have the highest ever real-world average fuel economy, according to the agency's annual trends report released today.
Based on preliminary data, the report estimates that model year 2012 cars and trucks will average 23.8 miles per gallon (mpg), 1.2 mpg higher than the previous peak in 2010 and a growth of 1.4 mpg over the 2011 average of 22.4 mpg. According to the EPA, the 0.2 mpg dip in 2011 from 2010 is partially attributable to the impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power disasters on production of more fuel-efficient vehicles by Honda and Toyota, leaving car buyers with fewer options for gas-saving models that year.
All automakers will be offering more fuel-efficient models in the coming years thanks to recently finalized standards that will double the fuel economy of new vehicles by model year 2025 and lower their global warming emissions by half.
Below is a statement from David Friedman, senior engineer and deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles program:
"Today's report shows the great strides automakers have made to deliver a better kind of car for the American people in 2012, but it also shows just how far they have to go. The decline of average fuel economy in model year 2011 highlights how much consumers had relied upon only a few automakers for many fuel-efficient vehicles.
"With high gas prices the new norm, the average model year 2011 vehicle will cost its owners almost as much to fill up over its lifetime as it did to purchase it. Consumers need more options to shield themselves from the high cost of gasoline, options they are starting to get thanks to the fuel economy and emission standards that began to take effect in 2012.
"The new standards ensure that all automakers will offer more fuel-efficient options in the coming years, relying on the fuel saving technology that they've already developed. The 2012 projections show that automakers are rising to the task, and the faster they do, the faster Americans will get relief from high gas prices."