As fuel prices continue to rise and emissions regulations tighten, the results can be seen in the increased adoption of vehicles with better fuel economy.
Automobiles are becoming more fuel-efficient every year and, at the same time, delivering better performance. For example, electric vehicles are torquey and fun-to-drive, and have the best fuel economy on the planet, upwards of 75 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent). However, you don’t have to go for an electrified vehicle, as shown by the popularity of the small turbocharged engines, such as found in the Ford Fiesta, which deliver great fuel economy, 37 miles per gallon (mpg) for the Fiesta, yet are still fun-to-drive. So, the vehicles themselves are becoming more fuel-efficient, but what about how many of them are actually being driven?
According to the latest UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute) report on fuel economy, the average fuel economy in the United States has reached an all-time high of 24.9 mpg. In December, 2012, UMTRI calculated the US average fuel economy at 23.9 mpg, which means that we’ve seen a jump of a full 1.0 mpg over the last year. This is great news, in spite of the fact that hybrid and electric vehicle sales don’t make up the bulk of the fuel economy improvements. What this means, is that more fuel-efficient conventional cars are being bought than ever before.
Still, at 24.9 mpg average fuel economy, in spite of it being such great news, we’ve got a long way to go before we get to reach the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) projected 54.5 mpg by 2025. Currently, making an average mpg-jump of 0.68 mpg per year would put us at 54.5 mpg in about 40 years, or the year 2057. Clearly, we’ve got a ways to go to improve fuel economy and encourage the adoption of more fuel-efficient and non-fuel vehicles, if such goals are to be met.
Image © UMTRI