US: EPA says fuel economy standard surpassed again image

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that automakers active on the US auto market managed, for the second year in a row, to pass the governmental threshold for raising gas mileage and reducing tailpipe emissions.

According to a recent EPA report, the new cars and light trucks sold in the US are today on average at a record fuel efficiency, with 24.1 miles per gallon for the 2013 model year, surging 0.5 mpg from the figure accounted during the previous year. The agency added that currently the percentage of models that average 30 mpg or above has gone up threefold from the level accounted just half a decade ago, and even the well-known sport utility gas guzzlers have shown vast improvements. The recent improvement tally also signals that for now the carmakers have gathered enough momentum with their drive to reduce vehicle weight and bring forth new fuel-saving technologies, managing to overcome the consumer interest in mostly purchasing SUVs and pickup trucks instead of electric cars or hybrids. But the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Toyota, GM and ten other global carmakers, said keeping up the pace will be a challenge in the near future.

Lower emissions and more fuel-efficient vehicles continue to be introduced, with such new technologies as variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, start/stop systems. Additionally, the weight of all models is constantly going down thanks to the usage of lightweight materials – aluminum and carbon fiber. But the alliance said they are on their way to exhaust such new features, leaving them vulnerable to consumers swinging more and more to less-efficient SUVs and trucks.

Via Automotive News Europe