EPA Projects Highest Ever Fuel Economy in 2012, But It’s Just the Beginning

Statement by David Friedman, Senior Engineer & Deputy Director, Clean Vehicles Program

Published Mar 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013


WASHINGTON (March 15, 2013) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is projecting model year 2012 cars and truck will have the highest ever real-world average fuel economy, according to the agency’s annual trends report released today.

Based on preliminary data, the report estimates that model year 2012 cars and trucks will average 23.8 miles per gallon (mpg), 1.2 mpg higher than the previous peak in 2010 and a growth of 1.4 mpg over the 2011 average of 22.4 mpg. According to the EPA, the 0.2 mpg dip in 2011 from 2010 is partially attributable to the impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power disasters on production of more fuel-efficient vehicles by Honda and Toyota, leaving car buyers with fewer options for gas-saving models that year.

All automakers will be offering more fuel-efficient models in the coming years thanks to recently finalized standards that will double the fuel economy of new vehicles by model year 2025 and lower their global warming emissions by half. 

Below is a statement from David Friedman, senior engineer and deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles program:

“Today’s report shows the great strides automakers have made to deliver a better kind of car for the American people in 2012, but it also shows just how far they have to go. The decline of average fuel economy in model year 2011 highlights how much consumers had relied upon only a few automakers for many fuel-efficient vehicles. 

“With high gas prices the new norm, the average model year 2011 vehicle will cost its owners almost as much to fill up over its lifetime as it did to purchase it. Consumers need more options to shield themselves from the high cost of gasoline, options they are starting to get thanks to the fuel economy and emission standards that began to take effect in 2012.

“The new standards ensure that all automakers will offer more fuel-efficient options in the coming years, relying on the fuel saving technology that they’ve already developed. The 2012 projections show that automakers are rising to the task, and the faster they do, the faster Americans will get relief from high gas prices.”