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In 1975, the sedan/wagon class had the highest average fuel economy of all new light-duty vehicles produced, at 13.5 miles per gallon (mpg). By 2021, the average fuel economy for the sedan/wagon class had risen to 31.7 mpg. From 1975 to the mid-1980s, all vehicle classes experienced a sharp increase in fuel economy. This was followed by a period where the average fuel economy among vehicle classes remained relatively flat. Beginning around 2000, fuel economies began to rise again. While all vehicle classes have experienced impressive gains in fuel economy over the past two decades, the car SUV class (see note) has seen a 70% improvement since 2000. The sharp increase in the van/minivan class in the last few years is likely due to the introduction of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

Average New Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy, 1975-2021

Note: Data for 2021 are preliminary. “Car SUVs” are two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive sport utility vehicles that are under 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and do not have off-road capabilities. “Truck SUVs” are heavier and have off-road capabilities.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The 2021 EPA Automotive Trends Report, EPA-420-R-21-023, November 2021.