Kelley Blue Book: Americans’ car choices are canceling out fuel efficiency gains

by | Dec 19, 2022 | Stock Market

America’s cars got no more fuel-efficient in 2021, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse gas emissions fell to a record low, but they fell from a prior record low and didn’t fall far. The EPA’s annual Automotive Trends Report takes nearly a year to put together, so we’re just getting numbers on 2021 as 2022 comes to a close.

You might like: Real progress on biodiversity — the key to all healthy economies — will require a vote in CongressSome cars got more efficient, but we didn’t buy those The average new vehicle purchased in 2021 managed 25.4 mpg—the same figure as 2020. The figure stayed flat even though some types of vehicles grew more efficient because America’s buying habits are changing. The EPA found that minivans and vans improved by 3.9 mpg, and car-based SUVs (the EPA defines this as 2-wheel-drive SUVs or all-wheel-drive SUVs below 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight) improved by 2.6 mpg. But Americans bought more heavy, truck-based SUVs, canceling out those gains when the averages were calculated. Truck-based SUVs made up 45% of the market in 2021, the EPA says. More efficient sedans and wagons — 50% of the market as recently as 2013 — fell to just 26%. Average new vehicle fuel economy, horsepower, weight, and footprint were all at record highs. “Since model year 2004, the combination of technology innovation and market trends have resulted in average new vehic …

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