March 15 Model year 2012 passenger vehicles sold
in the United States had an average fuel economy rating of 23.8
miles per gallon, the highest on record, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency said on Friday.
Last year's models showed a 1.4 mpg improvement over 2011,
the biggest annual improvement since the EPA began keeping
records on fuel economy.
Improving fuel economy is a key component of the Obama
administration's effort to cut U.S. oil consumption and
polluting greenhouse gases, which cause global warming.
Model year 2012 cars and light-duty trucks sold in the
United States average emissions of 374 grams of carbon dioxide,
down from 398 grams per mile in the previous model year, the EPA
Carbon dioxide accounts for the lion's share of greenhouse
gas emissions globally.
The EPA said the figures released in its report, which can
be seen atare preliminary.
Among major manufacturers, Honda Motor Co showed
the highest average fuel economy of 26.4 mpg, followed by
Volkswagen AG at 26.2 mpg, Mazda Motor Corp
and at 25.9 mpg.
Among U.S. automakers, Ford Motor Co vehicles reported
the best average fuel economy at 23.2 mpg, up from 21.1 mpg for
its 2011 models, the EPA said.
Hyundai Motor Co would have the highest for 2012
vehicles, at 28.8 mpg, but its figures are under investigation
by the EPA. In November, the EPA announced that it was
investigating Hyundai and its corporate sister Kia Motors Corp
after its own tests showed less performance than
what the automakers claimed.
U.S. automakers have more pickup trucks and large sport
utility vehicles in their lineups, which increases their
corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) ratings.
Auto manufacturers have increased the number of hybrid
gasoline-electric vehicles, plug-in vehicles as well as
increased fuel economy for internal combustion gasoline engines
in recent years, largely spurred on fuel economy targets set by
the Obama administration.
In 2011, Obama reached a deal with major automakers that
fuel economy for each manufacturer will rise to an average of
54.5 mpg by 2025. By model year 2016, U.S. cars and light-duty
trucks by each manufacturer are to average 35.5 mpg.
The EPA said the longer term trend of improving fuel economy
ratings began with the 2005 model year, during the Bush
Since the 2007 model year, U.S. passenger vehicles have
shown a 13-percent increase in fuel economy ratings and a 16
percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.