Rising Fuel Economy Leads to Lower CO2 Emissions

For the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported an increase in fuel efficiencywith a corresponding decrease in average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissionsfor new cars and light duty trucks. This marks the first time that datafor CO2 emissions are included in the annual report, “Light-DutyAutomotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel EconomyTrends: 1975 through 2009”.

For 2008, the last year for which EPA has final data fromautomakers, the average fuel economy value was 21.0 miles per gallon(mpg). EPA projects a small improvement in 2009, based on pre-modelyear sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers, to 21.1 mpg.

The report confirms that average CO2 emissions have decreased andfuel economy has increased each year beginning in 2005. Average CO2emissions have decreased by 39 grams per mile, or 8 percent, andaverage fuel economy has increased by 1.8 mpg, or 9 percent, since2004. This positive trend beginning in 2005 reverses a long period ofincreasing CO2 emissions and decreasing fuel economy from 1987 through 2004, and returns CO2 emissions and fuel economy to levels of the early 1980s.

“American drivers are increasingly looking for cars that burncleaner, burn less gas and won’t burn a hole in their wallets,” saidEPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re working to help acceleratethis trend with strong investments in clean energy technology –particularly for the cars and trucks that account for almost 60 percentof greenhouse gases from transportation sources. Cleaner, moreefficient vehicles can help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreignoil, cut harmful pollution, and save people money — and it’s clearthat’s what the American car buyer wants.”

The latest CO2 emissions and fuel economy values reflect EPA’s bestestimates of real world CO2 emissions and fuel economy performance.They are consistent with the fuel economy estimates that EPA provideson new vehicle window stickers and in the Fuel Economy Guide. Thesereal world fuel economy values are about 20 percent lower, on average,than those used for compliance with the corporate average fuel economy program under DOT.

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