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In 2017, about 46% of all new cars achieved 30 miles per gallon (mpg) or higher while the number of cars exceeding 50 mpg rose to about 5%. For light trucks, almost two-thirds achieved fuel economy above 20 mpg and less than one percent fell below 15 mpg. By contrast, in 1975, about 88% of new cars achieved less than 20 mpg and about 7% got less than 10 mpg. For new light trucks in 1975, nearly all (97.5%) were under 20 mpg and about 28% were under 10 mpg. Over the 42-year period there have been many advances in engine technologies, transmission technologies, aerodynamics, tires, and high-strength lightweight materials that have increased efficiency of light vehicles.

New car and new light truck market share by fuel economy category from 1975 to 2017.

*Data for 2017 are preliminary, based on projected production data from the automakers.

Notes: The definition of cars and light trucks is the same definition as in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy rulemaking. Thus, the car category includes cars, station wagons, and small 2-wheel drive sport utility vehicles (SUV). The light truck category includes pickups, vans, minivans, 4-wheel drive SUV, and large SUV. Fuel economy data are adjusted values that represent EPA’s best estimates of real world performance.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2017, EPA-420-R-18-001, January 2018.

Fact #1015 Dataset

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