In Europe, a large percentage of all cars and trucks are sold with diesel
engines, which generally consume less fuel and produce a smaller amount of carbon emissions per mile. In Japan, diesel engines still aren't all that popular, but small displacement and tiny footprint Kei cars sell in extremely high numbers. These little cars have engines the size of motorcycles
, displacing about 660 cubic centimeters each. For these reasons, studies indicate that the average vehicle in both Europe and Japan emit a little over 3-tons of CO2
while cars in the States emit over nearly 6-tons each. Similarly, the average car overseas get over 40 miles per gallon. In the U.S.? About 23 mpg.
There are a couple of reasons that U.S. buyers are driving less efficient vehicles, aside from personal taste. Automakers don't offer nearly as many diesels in the States as they do in Europe and those Kei cars are only legislated in Japan. We're not totally convinced that all of these figures from JATO Dynamics are completely accurate either, but the fact remains that the U.S. has plenty of catching up to do when directly compared with other automaking countries.