U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities

New EPA Report Shows Significant Gains in Fuel Economy for 2012

March 20, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 15 released its annual report that tracks the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States, emphasizing major gains in the efficiency of American vehicles, which reduce oil consumption and cut carbon emissions. The EPA estimates that between 2007 and 2012, fuel economy values increased by 16%, while carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 13%. In 2012, there was a significant one-year increase of 1.4 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and trucks.

EPA’s “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 potentially meet more rigorous 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.

The expected 1.4 mpg improvement in 2012 is based on sales estimates provided by automakers to EPA. These projections show a reduction in carbon dioxide 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. 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. See the EPA press release and the complete report PDF.