Fuel economy of vehicles sold in the US last year had the sharpest gains in four decades

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 18, 2013

The fleets of Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Volkswagen AG and Mazda Motor Corp. are now at their most efficient. It’s certainly worth mentioning that the fuel economy of the vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2012 had its most significant improvements in nearly 40 years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual report, new cars and trucks reported a 16% increase in fuel efficiency in the last five years, to 23.8 miles per gallon. The EPA said that preliminary data demonstrate an average improvement of 1.4 mpg in 2012 from the prior year. This is partly attributed to the decline in Japanese vehicle production after the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

In this statement, Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the EPA, said that the company is making progress towards helping families spend less on fuel, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and clean up the air. Obama's administration had reached a deal with automakers to increase the average fuel efficiency of their vehicles in the next 12 years.

Automakers are required to double the fuel economy of new vehicles by model year 2025 and reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by half. The first set of rules phases in through 2016. According to the EPA, nearly 25% of vehicles already in production can meet the 2016 model-year standards.

The majority of the models that meet this standard are fueled with gasoline, but there are also those powered by technologies including hybrids, electric and diesel. Alan Baum, principal of Baum & Associates, an automotive consulting firm in West Bloomfield, Mich., said that automakers have to keep up with the ever-rising fuel economy limits but then there are so many advancements that they’re very capable of getting there.

Topics: united states

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