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Passenger vehicles achieved record-high fuel economy while outperforming greenhouse gas emission standards in model year 2015, according to two reports released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The GHG Manufacturer Performance Report for 2015 Model Year finds automakers went beyond the model year (MY) 2015 standards by an average 7 grams of CO2 per mile, equivalent to 0.9 miles per gallon (mpg), even as the fleet-wide standard became more stringent by 13 grams of CO2 per mile. All large manufacturers have met the standards through MY 2015.

According to the 2016 CO2 and Fuel Economy Trends Report, MY 2015 vehicles’ fuel economy increased by 0.5 mpg to a record 24.8 mpg, with improvements across all vehicle types – including passenger cars, SUVs, vans and minivans, and light duty pickup trucks. Since 2011, the year before the national Greenhouse Gas and Fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles took effect, fuel economy has increased by 2.4 mpg, and CO2 emissions per mile traveled have decreased by 10 percent.

The automotive industry has seen six consecutive years of sales increases and a new all-time sales record in 2015, reflecting positive consumer response to vehicles complying with the standards. Automakers have been rapidly adopting fuel-efficient technologies like turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems. More than 100 MY 2016 vehicles on the market today already meet the 2020 standards.    

EPA estimates that the GHG emissions standards have slashed almost 130 million metric tons of CO2. The National Program establishes separate footprint-based standards for passenger cars and light trucks. A manufacturer’s compliance obligations depend on the mix of vehicles that it produces for sale in each model year. This approach ensures that consumers can continue to choose from the full range of fuel-efficient vehicles, while these vehicles are improving efficiency and reducing emissions. 

Published in the December 2016 Edition of American Recycler News