We talk a lot about the remarkable horsepower gains over the last decade, but what’s equally impressive is how manufactures have been able to shatter both CO2 records at the same time. The EPA just released its Fuel Economy Trends Study, and it notes that both average vehicle CO2 emissions rates and fuel economy achieved record levels in the 2013 model year and have improved in 8 of the last 9 years.
The graphs in the report tell the entire story in dramatic detail. In 1980, the fleet experienced a 20 percent drop in horsepower over the course of the year, while fuel economy increased dramatically, but over the years, fuel economy has skyrocketed, with horsepower in hot pursuit.
Adjusted carbon dioxide and fuel economy ratings have almost been mirror images of each other in the last 30 years:
Mazda is pretty significantly in the lead of manufacturers increasing fuel economy and lowering COCO2 emissions year after year, according to the report. On the one hand, Mazda doesn’t have trucks or full-size SUVs to hammer fuel economy ratings, but on the other hand, it doesn’t have a hybrid or an electric vehicle in the fleet, either. It’s managed to stay at the top by extracting significant gains and reductions out of a conventional gasoline engine.
The entire EPA report details the fuel economy picture over the last 40 years, as manufacturers begin to hit mileposts on the way to average fuel economy ratings of 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.