Fuel Economy: How Are We Doing?

Fuel Economy: How Are We Doing?

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More and more people are opting for electric or hybrid vehicles even if they have to pay a little more. It is a good sign that the mindset is beginning to change. Here is a short progress report on how automobiles are doing when it comes to current fuel efficiency stats and how their future outlook may unfold.

TRI Stats

According to the Transportation Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Michigan, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the United States in 2012 was approximately 23.8 mpg. Since it began tracking new car emissions in October of 2007, the TRI estimates that there has been a 1.3 mpg increase through 2011 and a 2.9 mpg increase since 2008 overall. It may not seem like much until it is compared to the decades of no progress whatsoever. Yet, more is always strived to be had. Still, the numbers are slow to rise for any industrial turnaround due to the fact that the amount that needs to be replaced is usually exorbitant. It will take time before everyone owns a high fuel efficient or solely electric vehicle. Until they do there will be steps according to each economic demographic which will basically include the following:

  1. Wait Until it Dies – Drive the old gas guzzler before moving to the next purchase.
  2. Middle Purchase – Choose a better car with more MPG capability before purchasing an expensive hybrid or electric vehicle.
  3. Wait Until it dies – Use the ‘middle’ purchase as long as possible.
  4. Crossover – Finally be able to afford a lower priced, highly efficient hybrid or electric vehicle.

EPA Holds Their Own

Another factor in more successful fuel economy is the Environmental Protection Agency’s stricter engine standards making MPG’s worth much more than previous decades. In addition to these standards, other factors such as carbon taxing, oil fluctuation, additional legislation, newer technology and more could accelerate fuel economy progress.

More Stats

The EPA, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy suggest the following reasons to choose a fuel efficient vehicle:

  • You could save as much as $1,700 in fuel costs each year by choosing the most fuel efficient vehicle in a particular class.
  • The difference between 25 mpg and 20 mpg can prevent the emission of 10 tons of CO2 over a vehicle’s lifetime.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by using a FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle). Compatibility can be found on the inside of your car’s fuel filler door or in the owner’s manual. Flexible fuel E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, is sold at more than 2,400 filling stations in the U.S.

Battery technology, fuel formula changes and even mass transit are some of the many current alternative or improved fuel economy choices in flux. The race for a U.S., and hopefully global, transportation fleet renewal is exciting, hopeful and possible. It won’t be long before you unplug your car; drive to the supermarket; plug in; shop; drive back home; and plug in again all while breathing cleaner air.


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