The projected fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. during the 2010 model year inched up to 22.5 miles per gallon from 22.4 mpg the year before, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
The preliminary data indicate that the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. will increase for the sixth straight year, albeit to a level still well below the 35.5 miles per gallon goal the Obama administration has set for 2016. The administration has begun work on more aggressive fuel economy standards for 2025, proposing an approach that could push the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard to as high as 62 miles per gallon.
The EPA's latest estimate of light vehicle fuel economy indicates that stable gasoline prices lured some consumers toward less efficient models, resulting in a slower pace of overall fuel efficiency improvement. The average fuel economy of vehicles sold in the 2009 model year increased by 1.4 miles per gallon from the 2008 model year to 22.4 mpg. That jump reflected in part the consumer shift toward smaller vehicles in reaction to surging gasoline prices during the summer and fall of 2008. The final 2010 model year value could be adjusted up or down from the 22.5 mpg, the EPA said.
The 2010 model year mileage estimate translates to average carbon dioxide emissions of 395 grams per mile, down from 397 grams per mile for the 2009 model year. By 2016, the average car or light truck is supposed to emit 240 grams of CO2 per mile.