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Since 2002, there has been a shift away from eight- and six-cylinder engines and increased use of four-cylinder engines in new light vehicles. From 2002 to 2012, eight- and six-cylinder engines declined by nearly 50% (49% and 46%, respectively) while the use of four-cylinder engines increased by 44%. This shift toward smaller engines is attributable to advances in engineering that allow greater output from smaller engines. These advances are helping manufacturers to meet both Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and consumer expectations. Other cylinder configurations like the three- and five-cylinder engines have never been widely used.

Sales of New Light Vehicles by Number of Cylinders, 2002–2012
Graph showing the sales of new light vehicles by the number of cylinders the vehicle has. Reporting is from 2001 average number of gears for new light vehicles for model years 1979 to 2012. See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Sales of New Light Vehicles by Number of Cylinders,
2002–2012 (Thousands)

Model Year Number of Cylinders Total
4 5 6 8 Other
2002 5,003 77 7,866 3,164 4 16,115
2003 5,021 40 7,346 3,359 6 15,773
2004 4,400 260 7,245 3,757 12 15,674
2005 5,034 305 7,340 3,180 16 15,875
2006 4,758 366 7,095 2,860 19 15,098
2007 5,576 297 6,434 2,946 17 15,270
2008 5,245 251 6,036 2,328 36 13,896
2009 4,762 149 3,232 1,150 19 9,312
2010 5,556 125 3,887 1,532 9 11,109
2011 5,582 130 4,542 1,740 8 12,002
2012 7,199 256 4,260 1,617 11 13,343
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2012, EPA-420-S-13-001, Appendix J, March 2013.

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