December 8, 2023


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EPA: US fuel economy flat in 2021, emissions down slightly

EPA: US fuel economy flat in 2021, emissions down slightly

DETROIT (AP) — Fuel economy for 2021 model year vehicles in the U.S. stayed flat with 2020 as people continued to buy less-efficient trucks and SUVs, according to an annual government report published Monday.

The fleet of new vehicles got 25.4 miles per gallon (10.8 kilometers per liter) for the model year, while greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 2 grams per mile to a record low of 347, the Environmental Protection Agency said in its annual Automotive Trends Report. The 2021 fuel economy figure ties a record set in model year 2020.

The performance came under fuel economy and emissions standards that were relaxed when Donald Trump was president. Requirements will start to increase at a higher rate in 2026 under standards adopted by the Biden administration.

The EPA said in a statement that all vehicle types are at record low carbon dioxide emissions, but “the market shift away from cars and toward sport utility vehicles and pickups has offset some of the fleetwide benefits.”

In the 2021 model year, cars and station wagons, the most efficient vehicles, fell to 26% of U.S. new vehicle production, well below the 50% market share as recently as 2013, the EPA said. SUVs were a record 45% of new vehicle sales for the 2021 model year, while pickup trucks hit 16%.

Stellantis, the former Fiat Chrysler, had the lowest fuel economy and the highest emissions of all manufacturers at 21.3 mpg (9.1 kilometers per liter) and 417 grams per mile of carbon dioxide. Tesla, which makes only electric vehicles, had the highest mileage equivalent at 121.5 mpg (51.7 kilometers per liter), and zero carbon dioxide emissions.

Nine manufacturers were above their EPA carbon dioxide emissions standard: BMW, Volkswagen, Kia, Nissan, Hyundai, General Motors, Mazda, Stellantis and Mercedes. Five were below their standards, meaning they emitted less than allowed: Tesla, Subaru, Ford, Honda and Toyota. Automakers can meet the standards with credits they accrued or bought from other manufacturers.

The EPA said that since the 2004 model year, average fuel economy in the U.S. is up 6.1 miles per gallon (2.6 kilometers per liter), or 32%.

It said that gas-electric hybrid production reached a new high of 9% of all vehicles in the 2021 model year. while electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles were 4% of nationwide production.