May 20, 2015

From Small Cars to Pickup Trucks, Automakers Aren’t Just Meeting Efficiency Standards, They’re Exceeding Them

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2015)—The emissions and efficiency standards for vehicles have been a big success, according to a new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Ten percent of new passenger cars and trucks sold today already meet standards for 2020 and beyond, and the majority of those are powered by gasoline and diesel engines. With innovative technologies being deployed across all types of vehicles, consumers have more choices for models that save thousands of dollars in fuel costs, and automakers are demonstrating they can deliver even more efficient vehicles in the future.

“The efficiency and emissions standards are working—all you have to do is look at cars and trucks that are on the road today to see it,” said Dr. Dave Cooke, vehicles analyst at UCS. “Automakers are meeting the challenge of making cleaner cars, and Americans are buying those cars. The standards are delivering even faster than expected.”

Manufacturers are more than a year ahead of regulatory requirements, the UCS study finds:

  • More than 100 model variants meet or exceed the 2020 standards—including not just hybrid and electric vehicle models, but also conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
  • Seventy percent of sales of vehicles that meet or exceed 2020 standards are vehicles with conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered engines.
  • Six of the 10 best-selling vehicles in America have model variants that meet or exceed 2020 standards, including the Ford F-150, the Dodge Ram and the Honda CR-V.

Spurred by the new standards, automakers are getting more and more out of conventional vehicles, deploying engines, transmissions and lightweight materials that deliver major fuel economy improvements across all classes of vehicles, from small cars to large pick-ups. The UCS analysis found that, compared to their 2010 versions, gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles that exceed the 2020 standards save owners nearly $4,000 in fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.

By 2025, these standards will cut the global warming emissions from the average new car or truck by 50 percent compared to 2010. Already, vehicles sold under those standards are saving 5 million gallons of gasoline every day, and the nation has avoided 29 million metric tons of emissions.

 “The standards for cars and trucks are a huge achievement for drivers and for the environment,” said Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles program at UCS. “As we hit Memorial Day and kick off the summer driving season, customers have more options than ever to save them money at the pump. Automakers have demonstrated that they can meet the regulatory challenge. The incredible advances we’ve seen are a testament to how important this policy is, and automakers are well-poised to meet future standards for vehicles of all sizes.” 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.