U.S. EPA report cites diverse range of fuel-efficient vehicles available for American consumers

U.S. consumers have more choices today when shopping for vehicles with higher fuel economy and lower tailpipe CO2 emissions compared to five years ago, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“These choices reflect both a more diverse range of technology packages on conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles as well as an increasing number of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle offerings,” the EPA report said.

There are 20 MY 2017 pickup and minivan/van models for which at least one variant of the model has a combined city/highway label fuel economy rating of 20 miles per gallon (mpg) or more, a small increase over MY 2012. There are more than twice as many SUV models that achieve at least 25 mpg in MY 2017 than there were in MY 2012.

The number of car models, where at least one variant has a combined city/highway label fuel economy of at least 30 mpg, has grown from 46 models in MY 2012 to more than 70 models in MY 2017, and the number of car models with 40 mpg or higher has more than doubled (comprised of hybrid, electric (EV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCV)).

Though the industry overall has adopted several technologies quickly in recent years, individual manufacturers are utilizing different technologies to achieve CO2 emissions, fuel economy and performance goals, the EPA said.

The figure above illustrates projected manufacturer-specific technology adoption for MY 2017. Gasoline direct injection (GDI) has achieved widespread use by many manufacturers and is projected to be used on more than half of all vehicles in MY 2017. This is particularly impressive since GDI was used in fewer than 3% of vehicles as recently as MY 2008. All Mazda engines are projected to use GDI in MY 2017, with several other manufacturers at nearly 100% adoption. Turbochargers, which are often used in conjunction with GDI, have also increased market share to 25% in MY 2017, led by BMW, Mercedes, VW and Ford.

Transmission technology has also changed rapidly with about 24% of MY 2017 vehicles projected to use transmissions that have seven or more speeds, with an additional 24% relying on continuously variable transmissions (CVT). Subaru, Nissan, and Honda are leading in the adoption of CVTs, while Mercedes, BMW and Fiat-Chrysler lead in the adoption of transmissions with seven or more speeds. Mercedes and BMW are the leading manufacturers for non-hybrid stop/start, and GM and Honda are utilizing cylinder deactivation the most.

The EPA report, entitled “The Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975-2017,” is said to be the authoritative reference for real-world fuel economy, technology trends and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions, for new personal vehicles sold in the U.S. every year since 1975.

The report shows fuel economy for the U.S. fleet continues to improve. MY 2016 vehicle fuel economy was 24.7 mpg, slightly higher than MY 2015, and a record high overall. Since MY 2004, fuel economy and CO2 emissions have improved in 10 out of twelve years, the EPA said in a statement.

The EPA report can be downloaded from this link.