EPA Study Projects Increase in Real-World Fuel Economy for 2008

The United States Environmental Protection Agency released a new report this week citing an annual overall improvement in new car fuel efficiency from 20.6 miles per gallon in 2007 to a projected 20.8 miles per gallon for 2008—a jump of 0.2 miles per gallon. These figures reflect real-world driving results, which differ from Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) guidelines imposed upon car manufacturers. The study includes new cars, trucks, and SUVs with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings of less than 8,500 pounds.

The projected 2008 numbers for the top three foreign carmakers put Honda and Toyota in the lead, with 23.6 miles per gallon and 23.4 miles per gallon, respectively—while Hyundai came in at 22.6 miles per gallon. Among Detroit’s Big Three, General Motors came at 19.6 miles per gallon, with Ford averaging 19 miles per gallon, and Chrysler placing a close third with 18.9 miles per gallon. Automakers across the board are aiming to meet new CAFE standards of an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for their cars and light trucks.

The EPA report entitled, “Light Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2008,” says its 2008 projection will most likely be even better once the final data for the entire year is compiled—taking into account the influx of smaller, more efficient vehicles due to loftier fuel prices. The initial estimates for 2008 were calculated during a period when fuel prices were 15 to 25 percent lower than they are now.

The survey also reports that eight percent of new vehicles are equipped with a continuously variable transmission, a setup favored by many hybrids; manual transmissions, often associated with performance vehicles, have dropped from 23 percent down to seven percent.

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  • Collin Burnell

    That may not sound like much but by my (very rough) calculations that could be a savings of 100 million barrels of oil annually.

  • mdensch

    Interesting that manual transmissions are becoming less common since Consumer Reports just recently put out a video report to its TV station partners showing what better gas mileage manuals get over automatics.

  • Will S

    0.2 mpg increase over a year “a jump”? At this rate, it would take 100 years to get to 40 mpg, which the Prius already exceeds. 0.2 mpg is basically in the noise.

  • Dom

    “manual transmissions, often associated with performance vehicles, have dropped off from 23 percent down to seven percent.”

    NO, it means more people are choosing LESS efficient automatics (CVTs included) in regular cars (as opposed to less performance cars sold or whatever). Americans are too lazy to change gears themselves. Or too busy doing a million other things to be bothered with putting any brains into driving.

  • kurtdaniel

    whatever anyone says,,i still like the auto tranny!!it gives me less job!!!

  • mdensch

    Dom, your last sentence nailed it: You can’t drive a stick if you’re talking on the phone and eating an egg mcmuffin during your morning commute.

  • Bright Side

    Looking at the bright side, This is a 1% improvement in less than a year. If 1 mpg average increase would equal oil reserves in ANWR (see associated press) then that means we are already 20% there.
    If 0.2 mpg seems superficial to you, then drillling in ANWR should also. This is good news.

  • German Tedesco

    Please check an old Peugeot 404 from the seventies and you will realize what a lie is behind every EPA figure mandated to car manufacturers. Future is EV. Present work should led to it. Do not get fooled on gas distrations …. Help and back your local EV association or create one is yours is far away. We can not drill our way out. EV’s are the solution. More than one century years trying to block the sunrays with a hand show the mistake and the conspirational movement to favour oil instead of electricity. Go efficient, go green, go electric.

  • Jakob

    Listen guys.. we have been fooled by the car industry and we will continue to take that crap judging from your comments. How crazy is this we are driving in cars based on a 130 year old technology, even a T-ford gets better millage. and the first cars were electric cars.

    What happened to common sense folks. Don’t be fooled the technology is stored in secret warehouses until the public really really gets upset.

    Stop buying cars and maintain the one you have. Believe me a well build car can easily get 15 years. The more people realize this the lower the sales of cars and the more they realize that there is a need for improvement. Let the big 3 fall on there behinds so badly that the message gets out.


  • Jeremy Wolfe

    One of the conditions of my learning to drive, circa 1990 was that I had to learn and take my exam on an ’89 Accord that was to be given to me. That has translated into benefits I never saw coming at the time (Work trucks, easier motorcycle mastery, etc).

    I have pledged to my wife that both our kids will follow the same path provided manual transmissions are still available. I love that the sticks are cheaper to repair, and the extra MPG don’t hurt!

    Bring back the manual transmission Detroit!

  • tom kefry

    I just purchased a fuel saving device which is a throttle body spacer. I have seen increased fuel efficiency and there are no outlandish claims from the maker.