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In the 1990s and early 2000s, fuel economy decreased while vehicle weight increased. In recent years, however, light-duty vehicle manufacturers have employed advanced technologies to improve both performance and fuel economy. As a result, average fuel economy for all light-duty vehicles produced has improved nearly every year since 2004, and in 2018 rose to a record high of 25.4 miles per gallon. Despite a 128% increase in horsepower and 49% improvement in acceleration from model year 1980 to 2018, the overall fuel economy of light-duty vehicles improved 32% during that period. The data are based on production-weighted averages.

Characteristics (horsepower, fuel economy, weight, and acceleration) of new light-duty vehicles from 1980 to 2018.

Note: Data are production-weighted averages for each model year and do not represent any individual vehicle. Data for model year 2018 are preliminary.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The 2018 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Technology since 1975, EPA-420-R-19-002, March 2019.

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