In a new report, the EPA announced that even though model year 2006 cars and light trucks are the fastest and heaviest since 1975, they still average 21.0 mpg, the same as last year. The report, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2006,” provides data on the fuel economy and technology characteristics of new light-duty vehicles (cars, vans, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks) for model years 1975 through 2006.
Since 1992, average real-world fuel economy has been relatively constant, ranging from 20.6 to 21.4 mpg. This 21.0 mpg value is five percent lower tan the fleet-average fuel economy peak value of 22.1 mpg achieved in 1987-8.
For model year 2006, cars and light trucks are each projected to account for about 50% of vehicle sales. After two decades of steady growth, the light truck market share has been relatively stable for five years.
New technologies have maintained fuel economy while supporting the heaviest and fastest new vehicle fleet since EPA began compiling data in 1975. Recent technology developments, such as hybrid-electric vehicles, clean diesel technology, improved transmission designs, and engines equipped with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation hold promise for stable or improving fuel economy in the future.