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Fuel economy of U.S. vehicle fleet slightly lower for MY 2019

Fuel economy of U.S. vehicle fleet slightly lower for MY 2019

The U.S. vehicle fleet’s fuel efficiency for model year (MY) 2019 declined slightly to 24.9 miles per gallon (mpg), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual Automotive Trends Report, which was released yesterday.

The report provides the public with a single source of information about new light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fuel economy, technology data, and auto manufacturers’ performance in meeting the agency’s GHG emissions standards. 

The report shows that fuel economy has slipped slightly from the record pace set in previous years. 

Fuel economy for Model Year (MY) 2019 was lower than MY 2018 by 0.2 mpg. Since MY 2004, when the fleet averaged 19.3 mpg, fuel economy, and CO2 emissions have improved in 12 out of 15 years, the EPA said.

The report also assesses compliance performance for individual automakers, and for the U.S. fleet, with the GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. This year’s report once again shows that only three large manufacturers complied with MY 2019 standard based on technology factors of their vehicles alone. When accounting for credits, however, the report shows all large manufacturers are in compliance. Eleven out of 14 large manufacturers used a combination of technology improvements, banked credits, and purchased credits to maintain compliance in MY 2019. Automakers with better fuel economy performance than the mandatory minimum requirements can sell their excess credits. 

The shift to larger vehicles was the biggest factor hurting fuel economy. In 2019, 44% of the fleet were cars and 56% were light-duty trucks. Light-duty trucks include sports utility vehicles (SUVs), which account for almost 50% of U.S. vehicle production in 2019.

Average vehicle weight and horsepower also reached record levels in 2019. Horsepower is up 79% since 1975 for all vehicles.

Key highlights of this report include:

  • Due to a combination of technology, innovation and regulatory flexibility, the average new MY 2019 vehicle sold in the U.S. was near record low GHG emissions and near record high fuel economy.
  • New vehicles continue to make progress on GHG emissions while providing consumer choice for Americans. For example, sport utility vehicles reached record high market share, while also achieving record high fuel economy and record low CO2 emissions.
  • Manufacturers continue to have a large bank of credits to use toward compliance in future model years, however, about two-thirds of the current credits will expire after model year 2021.

To read the full Automotive Trends Report, visit https://www.epa.gov/automotive-trends