Vehicle emissions per passenger hit record low in November

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Average monthly vehicle emissions per U.S. driver reached a record low in November, according to new data.

The average new car buyer produced 21 percent less greenhouse gas emissions in November 2013 than in October 2007, according to a study released today by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

The record reflects fuel efficiency improvements adopted by automakers in response to consumer demand and strict standards put in place by the Obama administration.

The estimated fuel economy on U.S. EPA window stickers was 24.8 mpg last month, up 4.8 mpg from the average figure for new cars sold in late 2007, when the monthly survey was started.

The study also found that the average fuel economy of new cars sold in the United States last month increased 0.1 percent from the average recorded in December. But researchers said last year’s overall fuel economy average rose a full 1 mpg over the 2012 total, an indication of slow but steady growth.

Still, light-duty vehicles have a ways to go to meet EPA’s long-term guidelines.

In 2012, the Obama administration finalized a new corporate average fuel economy standard for light-duty vehicles of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

That announcement followed a 2011 guideline for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which are required to cut their fuel consumption and emissions by 20 percent by model year 2018.

Smaller trucks and buses must also achieve a fuel consumption and emissions reduction of 10 percent by 2018 under the new trucking regulations, which take effect this year.