A new report from Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) states that average fuel economy is improving around the world, but not at the pace necessary to meet 2050’s global targets.

“The technology is not the problem – it’s the policy commitment that is failing us,” said GFEI Executive Secretary Sheila Watson.

“We have brought this message to the COP [Climate Change Conference] because improved fuel economy is one of the most basic and costs effective ways of addressing the climate challenges which we have, and yet we are not on track to deliver on it,” said Watson. “We need to see vastly improved progress on vehicle fuel economy worldwide if we are to get anywhere near reaching both the 2-degree global climate targets, and the new Sustainable Development Goal objective of doubling improvement in energy efficiency. Halving fuel consumption in passenger light duty vehicles by 2030 is entirely possible using widely available technologies.”

Fuel economy

Source: GFEI report “Fuel Economy State of the World 2016.”

GFEI is using its “100 for 50by50” campaign to promote the global target of reducing average fuel consumption in 100 countries by 50 percent by the year 2050 (using a 2005 baseline). The group’s recent analysis, however, shows that advances are not being made fast enough to meet this goal.

“Between 2005 and 2013 fuel economy of new cars improved by 2 percent per year globally … global fuel economy is improving, but not at the necessary pace,” said GFEI in its report, “Fuel Economy State of the World 2016.”

To accurately evaluate global fuel economy, GFEI separates countries into two different categories: the fourteen countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and non-OECD countries.

Fuel economy

Source: GFEI report “Fuel Economy State of the World 2016.”

Findings highlighted by the GFEI report include:

  • “The global average annual improvement rate of fuel economy has remained close to 2.0 percent per year since 2005.”
  • “As a consequence of the increased implementation of fuel economy policies between 2005 and 2013, average fuel economy of new vehicles improved by almost 20 percent in OECD markets.”
  • “Fuel economy in OECD countries is improving at a much higher rate than in non-OECD countries. OECD countries are improving at a rate of 2.6 percent on average per year, with more than half of the OECD countries included in the analysis showing improvement rates well above 3.0 percent. Fuel economy improvement rates in non-OECD countries remain low, with an average improvement of -0.2 percent annually between 2005 and 2013.”

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One of the biggest areas of concern, as identified by GFEI, are developing countries. Many of these regions have a steep increase in passenger vehicles but few standards in place to regulate fuel economy.

“Helping countries with the development of [light-duty vehicle] fuel economy policies remains the main focus of GFEI,” the report stated. “Since much of the unregulated 20 percent of the light duty vehicle market are situated in developing countries with high market growth, this work is an indispensable contribution towards reaching a sustainable transport future.”