Gas Economy: US Still Way Off the Mark

Brand new American cars can travel almost twice as far and emit almost two times less CO2 on the same amount of gas compared to 40 years ago, an evolution that is noted every year in the Environmental Protection Agency’s report.

Gasoline and diesel cars manufactured in 2013 on American soil achieve an average of 24.1 miles per gallon, compared to 13.1 miles in 1975. At the same time, they emit an average of 229g of CO2 per km, against 423g in 1975. This improvement essentially comes down to the widespread adoption of turbocharged direct injection engines.

However, these levels still remain well above those seen in Europe. According to the 2013 Automobile Dashboard from the Comité des Constructeurs Français d’Automobiles [French Automobile Manufacturers Association] the average consumption in France is 60 miles per gallon (108g of CO2 per km) and 54 miles per gallon in the E.U.

The Speed Limit is Lower

Low gas prices do not encourage the American industry to progress as quickly as its European counterparts. As The Wall Street Journal notes, even if CO2 emissions have been cut by 20 percent in 10 years, the journey to abstinence may be stalling. The EPA’s forecast for 2014 suggests that the decline in emissions may be slowing down, due in part to fondness for pickups and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

SUVs make up 33 percent of American automobile production of cars and trucks, a figure which has jumped from 12 percent over the past two decades. Manufacturers today are skeptical about whether drivers are willing to pay for vehicles that meet the goals of the Obama administration’s “Clean Car” program, which aims to increase fuel economy standards to 35.5 mpg in 2016 and 54.45 mpg by 2025.

Local Manufacturers are the Worst Students

According to the report, Japanese manufacturers get the gold star for abstinence with Mazda, Honda, Subaru and Nissan claiming the top places on the table. Local manufacturers get the dunce’s hat with Ford, GM and Chrysler-Fiat holding up the bottom of the table at less than 25 miles per gallon. In terms of brands, Smart, which sells the lightest vehicles on the American market, is way out in front with an average consumption of 43 miles per gallon.

Washington has given itself two years to determine whether the 54.5 mpg goal by 2025 is attainable. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has already warned that the success of the government’s program “will not be based on what we produce, but what motorists choose to buy, especially given the fall in gas prices.”* The EPA’s administrator, Gina McCarthy, has said she is “confident” that the “Clean Car” initiative will be achieved.

*Editor’s note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply