U.S. car fuel economy up, C02 drops for sixth year

A California Highway Patrol officer travels south with commuters on Interstate 5 as they make their way through heavy morning fog near San Diego March 16, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A boost in U.S. auto fuel economy standards slashed carbon dioxide emissions by 14 percent per mile over the last six years and reduced gasoline use by 16 percent, the government said on Wednesday.

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that C02 emissions have decreased while fuel economy has increased every year since 2005, reversing the trend of the previous eight years.

Average C02 emissions fell by 64 grams per mile to 395 grams in the last six years, while vehicle fuel economy rose by 3.1 miles per gallon to 22.5 mpg.

The numbers are expected to keep improving as the government requires higher fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emission emissions for vehicles

By 2016, average fuel economy is set to reach 35.5 mpg and emissions will be lowered to 250 grams per mile.

The government proposed in October that heavy trucks reduce their carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2018 as part of a first-ever fuel efficiency standard for commercial vehicles.

Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio