Photo: Flickr, CC
The numbers on the fuel economy of the U.S. car fleet are out, albeit a year behind. But the news are rather good: The EPA report for 2009 shows an improvement of 7% in fuel economy, or 1.4 MPG, bringing the average to 22.4 MPG (kind of a sad record, when you think about it). Another piece of good news is that the ratio of cars to trucks has been shifting back in favor of cars. It has declined "to 40 percent in 2009 models, a decrease of 7 percent from 2008 and 12 percent from the peak year of 2004, when the 'average' car was a light truck. The truck share is now at its lowest level since 1995."
The EPA writes: "The previous records for lowest CO2 emissions and highest fuel economy were in MY1987, and the recent improvements in CO2 emissions and fuel economy reverse an opposite trend from MY1987 through MY2004. Compared to the previous best year of MY1987, MY2009 CO2 emissions were 8 g/mi (2 percent) lower, and fuel economy was 0.4 mpg (2 percent) higher. From MY2004 to MY2009, CO2 emissions decreased by 64 g/mi (14 percent), and fuel economy increased by 3.1 mpg (16 percent)."
The fact that we can't do better than 22 MPG and that things have been stagnant for so long is kind of discouraging. The new fuel economy regulations should help improve things, but what we really need to do is to move away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector. The best is to walk, bike, or take public transit. But as long as there are cars and trucks, we should find ways to make them work without oil (electrification is the most obvious way).
Via EPA, NYT
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