WASHINGTON - For the sixth consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting a decrease in average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a slight increase in the average fuel efficiency for new cars and light-duty trucks, according to EPA's annual report "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2010."
EPA projects a small improvement in 2010, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided by automakers, to 395 grams of CO2 per mile and 22.5 mpg, though there is uncertainty in these projections as they were made during the atypical automotive market in 2009. The 2010 final data will be available in next year's report.
For 2009, the last year EPA has final data from automakers, the average CO2 emissions from new vehicles were 397 grams per mile and the average fuel economy value was 22.4 mpg.
The report confirms that average CO2 emissions have decreased and fuel economy has increased each year beginning in 2005. Average CO2 emissions have decreased by 64 grams per mile, or 14 percent, and average fuel economy has increased by 3.1 mpg, or 16 percent, since 2004. The positive trend beginning in 2005 reverses a long period of increasing CO2 emissions and decreasing fuel economy from 1987 through 2004, according to the EPA.
The annual report provides data on the CO2 emissions, fuel economy and technology characteristics of new light-duty vehicles (cars, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks).
The CO2 emissions and fuel economy values reflect EPA's best estimates of real world CO2 emissions and fuel economy performance. They are consistent with the fuel economy estimates that EPA provides on new vehicle window stickers and in the fuel economy guide. These real-world fuel economy values are about 20 percent lower, on average, than those used for compliance with the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program.
More information on the 2010 report is available at www.epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm.
Seemingly acting out of character, the Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 13 announced it will launch a rulemaking to further cut the emission of nitrogen oxide from diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks.