According to a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2012 vehicles sold in the U.S. were on average the most fuel efficient they’ve ever been, with 23.6 miles per gallon (9.96 L/100 km).
The 1.2 mile-per-gallon increase in the first year of a U.S. fuel-economy regulation that applies through 2016 shows automakers are on their way to meeting a second, tougher set of standards requiring improvements through 2025, an advocate of the rules said.
“We are on track to hitting the 54.5 mpg standard for 2025,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, based in Washington. “This is a big deal. It’s a big down payment on a better future.”
Automakers have questioned whether they can achieve fleet wide averages of 54.5 mpg (4.31 L/100 km) by 2025, with most companies that sell cars in the U.S. agreeing to a deal that includes a review of the progress in 2018 and possible adjustment of the mandate. The report credits technologies used to improve gasoline-powered engines such as direct injected and turbocharged engines and more efficient transmissions for the improvement.
“Each year new technologies are coming on line to keep driving these positive trends toward greater and greater efficiency,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.
Among the large manufacturers the EPA ranked for fuel economy, Mazda was the highest with an average of 27.1 mpg in 2012. Honda was second and had the biggest improvement, increasing by 2.5 mpg to 26.6 mpg. Chrysler Group LLC and parent company Fiat SpA were at the bottom with 20.1 mpg, less than a 1 mpg improvement from the previous year.