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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Average Fuel Economy Of New Cars Remains Unchanged, Tailpipe Emissions Are Improving

      Thank Low Gas Prices and Increased Consumer Demand for Light Trucks

    The EPA released their annual report on the trends of emissions and fuel economy for light vehicles and the results are a bit mixed.

     

    The average fuel economy of new cars and trucks came to 24.3 mpg for 2014. This was the same fuel economy average for 2013, when the average increased by 0.6 mpg. 2014 was the first year since 2011 where fleet-wide fuel economy didn't increase. Why no increase? The EPA says growing demand for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks along with lower gas prices offset the fleet-wide efficiency gains.

     

    Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality tells Automotive News that he's not worried about the slowdown in fleet-wide mpg improvements.

     

    “The whole policy was designed explicitly to preserve consumer choice. In 2014, the mix shifted a little bit, but overall we are exactly where we expected to be with greenhouse gas reductions,” said Grundler.

     

    There was some good news from the report. The average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles were 13 grams per mile lower than 2014 targets. Also, the average fuel economy for trucks climbed 0.6 mpg to 20.4. The EPA says that 0.6 mpg increase in the second-highest gain in 30 years.

     

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), EPA

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    I have to believe once the trucks are pushing 30mpg highway things will really start to swing upward. With how many Ford, GM, and Ram trucks that are sold every year they have to be the ones holding down the mpg as a whole. But I do see where somebody who would normally buy a 35mpg compact or mid size now driving something more like 30mpg small cuv. 

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    I kinda think we're comparing things wrong.  Every year X number of new cars enters service and X number of old cars are taken out of service.   The proper comparison isn't "Does a 2016 Model GS1234 have better fuel economy and emissions than a 2015 Model GS1234 and by how much?"  what should be compared is "Does a 2016 Model GS1234 have better fuel economy and emissions than the car it replaced and by how much?"

     

    When someone finally junks their 1998 Durango with 290k miles and buys a new 2016 Durango, there is a huge increase in fuel economy and large decrease in emissions. That's what I think we should be looking at. 

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    ^ good point Drew is just what did the new auto replace and how much better was the new over the old.

     

    Yesterday my wife and I got onto the freeway behind an old 240Z and it stunk with the unburned exhaust. My wife was shocked it was still on the road polluting, but then I explained how it was an old carburated auto compared to modern day fuel injection.

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    I kinda think we're comparing things wrong.  Every year X number of new cars enters service and X number of old cars are taken out of service.   The proper comparison isn't "Does a 2016 Model GS1234 have better fuel economy and emissions than a 2015 Model GS1234 and by how much?"  what should be compared is "Does a 2016 Model GS1234 have better fuel economy and emissions than the car it replaced and by how much?"

     

    When someone finally junks their 1998 Durango with 290k miles and buys a new 2016 Durango, there is a huge increase in fuel economy and large decrease in emissions. That's what I think we should be looking at. 

    Very good point, indeed, Drew. 

     

    We just did the same thing with getting rid of the Beretta and replaced it with an Ion. I think it's roughly a 3-4mpg swing if not more because the Beretta wasn't running top top.

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