Record High Fuel Economy and Historic Low CO2 Emissions Mark U.S. Automotive Achievements in 2022

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EPA’s Annual Automotive Trends Report Highlights Remarkable Progress in the Transportation Sector

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its annual Automotive Trends Report, revealing significant milestones for the transportation sector in 2022. The report showcases record-high fuel economy and historic low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, marking a pivotal year for environmental advancements in the automotive industry.

One of the standout achievements of 2022 was the record-high fuel economy, reaching its zenith as the industry recorded its most substantial annual improvements in emissions and fuel efficiency in nearly a decade. The average fuel economy surged by 0.6 miles per gallon (MPG) between 2021 and 2022, representing a doubling of the average annual improvement over the past decade.

This notable increase in average fuel economy was not limited to specific vehicle types, as gains were observed across the majority of segments. The EPA highlights that nearly every vehicle category reached its highest-ever efficiency levels. Notably, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) experienced a notable improvement, increasing their economy by 2.4 MPG in 2022—an essential achievement considering the continued growth in SUV sales.

The positive trend in overall fuel efficiency was further boosted by the contribution of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, which played a crucial role in elevating the industry’s average fuel economy by 1.2 MPG. The report indicates a growing adoption of new energy vehicles, with sales accelerating in 2023, setting the stage for continued improvement in the industry’s performance.

As a result of these advancements, the estimated real-world CO2 emissions for all new vehicles witnessed a significant decline, dropping by 3 percent year over year and reaching their lowest-ever reported value. Since 2004, CO2 emissions have seen a remarkable reduction of 27 percent, aligning with a simultaneous 35 percent increase in fuel economy.

The EPA’s Automotive Trends Report underscores the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability and highlights the positive impact of technological innovations and the growing popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The report sets an optimistic tone for the future, with expectations of continued progress in fuel efficiency and emissions reduction in the coming years.