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From model years 1980 to 2012, there have been significant gains in automotive technology. For new light vehicles, horsepower has more than doubled and "0-to-60" acceleration times have dropped from 14.3 to 9.3 seconds. The average weight grew to a high of 4,111 pounds in 2004 and has dropped slightly since then (3,950 pounds in 2012). The average fuel economy of new light vehicles has fluctuated over the years, but has been trending higher since 2004 with a new high of 23.8 miles per gallon reached in model year 2012.

Characteristics of New Light Vehicles Sold, Model Years 1980-2012
Graph showing the characteristics of new light vehicles sold for model years 1980 to 2012. Characteristics include horsepower, weight, fuel economy, and the time to accelerate from 0-60. See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Characteristics of New Light Vehicles Sold, Model Years 1980-2012
Model Year Native Units Indexed to 1980
Miles per gallon Weight
(lbs)
0-60 Time
(sec)
Horsepower Miles per gallon Weight
(lbs)
0-60 Time
(sec)
Horsepower
1980 19.2 3,228 14.3 104 100 100 100 100
1981 20.5 3,202 14.4 102 107 99 101 98
1982 21.1 3,202 14.4 103 110 99 101 99
1983 21.0 3,257 14.1 107 109 101 99 103
1984 21.0 3,262 14.0 109 109 101 98 105
1985 21.3 3,271 13.5 114 111 101 94 110
1986 21.8 3,238 13.4 114 114 100 94 110
1987 22.0 3,221 13.1 118 115 100 92 113
1988 21.9 3,283 12.8 123 114 102 90 118
1989 21.4 3,351 12.5 129 111 104 87 124
1990 21.2 3,426 12.2 135 110 106 85 130
1991 21.3 3,410 12.1 138 111 106 85 133
1992 20.8 3,512 11.8 145 108 109 83 139
1993 20.9 3,519 11.8 147 109 109 83 141
1994 20.4 3,603 11.7 152 106 112 82 146
1995 20.5 3,613 11.3 158 107 112 79 152
1996 20.4 3,659 11.1 164 106 113 78 158
1997 20.2 3,727 11.0 169 105 115 77 163
1998 20.1 3,744 10.9 171 105 116 76 164
1999 19.7 3,835 10.7 179 103 119 75 172
2000 19.8 3,821 10.6 181 103 118 74 174
2001 19.6 3,879 10.5 187 102 120 73 180
2002 19.5 3,951 10.2 195 102 122 71 188
2003 19.6 3,999 10.2 199 102 124 71 191
2004 19.3 4,111 9.9 211 101 127 69 203
2005 19.9 4,059 9.9 209 104 126 69 201
2006 20.1 4,067 9.8 213 105 126 69 205
2007 20.6 4,093 9.7 217 107 127 68 209
2008 21.0 4,085 9.7 219 109 127 68 211
2009 22.4 3,914 9.7 208 117 121 68 200
2010 22.6 4,002 9.6 214 118 124 67 206
2011 22.4 4,127 9.4 230 117 128 66 221
2012 23.8 3,950 9.3 222 124 122 65 213
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2012, EPA-420-S-13-001, March 2013.

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