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Nearly Half of All New Cars Sold In 2017 Achieved Fuel Economy Above 30 Miles per Gallon

Feb. 8, 2018

Graphs of New Car and Light Truck Market Share by Fuel Economy Category 1975-2017

U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Fact of the Week #1015

In 2017, about 46% of all new cars achieved 30 miles per gallon (mpg) or higher while the number of cars exceeding 50 mpg rose to about 5%. For light trucks, almost two-thirds achieved fuel economy above 20 mpg and less than one percent fell below 15 mpg. By contrast, in 1975, about 88% of new cars achieved less than 20 mpg and about 7% got less than 10 mpg. For new light trucks in 1975, nearly all (97.5%) were under 20 mpg and about 28% were under 10 mpg. Over the 42-year period there have been many advances in engine technologies, transmission technologies, aerodynamics, tires, and high-strength lightweight materials that have increased efficiency of light vehicles.

*Data for 2017 are preliminary, based on projected production data from the automakers.

Notes: The definition of cars and light trucks is the same definition as in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy rulemaking. Thus, the car category includes cars, station wagons, and small 2-wheel drive sport utility vehicles (SUV). The light truck category includes pickups, vans, minivans, 4-wheel drive SUV, and large SUV. Fuel economy data are adjusted values that represent EPA’s best estimates of real world performance.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2017, EPA-420-R-18-001, January 2018.

This post originally appeared on VTO’s Fact of the Week.

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