The average estimated CO2 emission rate for all model year 2018 vehicles in the U.S. fell by 4 grams per mile to 353 g/mi – the lowest ever measured.
The U.S.-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its latest findings on greenhouse gas emissions in its latest trend report.
The 2019 EPA Automotive Trends Report, designed to grade the automakers’ performance in meeting emissions targets, found that fuel economy increased by 0.2 miles per gallon over 2017 levels to 25.1 mpg – a record high.
Focusing on real-world emissions data (as opposed to lab tests), the agency found that since 2004 CO2 emissions have decreased 23%, or 108 g/mi, and fuel economy has increased 30%, or 5.8 mpg.
Since 2004, CO2 emissions and fuel economy have improved in 12 out of 14 years and have repeatedly achieved new records.
Preliminary data suggests further improvements will be shown when model year 2019 is examined. Average estimated real-world CO2 emissions are projected to fall 6 g/mi to 346 g/mi and fuel economy is projected to increase 0.4 mpg to 25.5 mpg.
Excluding Tesla, which produces only electric vehicles, Honda had the lowest CO2 emissions and highest fuel economy in model year 2018 and also achieved the largest five-year improvements in CO2 emissions and fuel economy.
Between model years 2013 and 2018, Honda reduced CO2 emissions by 31 g/mi and increased fuel economy by 2.8 mpg.
Subaru and Mazda tied for the third lowest CO2 emissions and third highest fuel economy in model year 2018. BMW had the second largest five-year improvement in CO2 emissions, reducing emissions by 27 g/mi, and Subaru had the third largest improvement, at 26 g/mi. BMW also increased fuel economy by 1.7 mpg, while Subaru increased by 2.2 mpg.
Two manufacturers actually increased CO2 emissions and reduced average fuel economy over the five-year span. Volkswagen had the largest increase in CO2 emissions, at 11 g/mi, and the largest decrease in fuel economy, at 1.3 mpg, due mostly to a large shift towards SUVs. Hyundai also showed lower fuel economy and higher emissions.
All the large manufacturers (with production of more than 150,000 in model year 2018) ended the 2018 model year in compliance with the GHG target program.
The authors of the report reflected on data collected on every new light-duty vehicle model sold in the U.S. since 1975. They cautioned that some data from 2019 models are preliminary.