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Report: Fuel Economy Gains at Standstill

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Jan. 23, 2017—Fuel economy gains have slowed in the U.S. because drivers favor trucks, according to a report on Friday from Marketwatch.

One major deterrent of fuel economy advancement is Americans’ preference of trucks. Truck fuel economy averaged 21 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2015, compared with cars at 29 mpg.

Six out of 10 new vehicles sold in 2016 were trucks, the highest share since at least 2000, according to analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt.

New vehicles sold in 2016 averaged 23.7 miles per gallon (mpg), compared to 23.3 mpg in 2015 and 19.9 mpg a decade ago. That 1.7 percent improvement in 2016 is only a squeak more than the 10-year average gains of 1.6 percent

Another reason for little improvement on fuel economy is the low penetration for hybrid vehicles, which had a market share of 2.9 percent last year, down from a peak 3.7 percent in 2013. Declining gasoline prices in the last couple of years are the most likely cause of falling hybrid share, the report noted.

One of the Obama administration’s final moves was for the Environmental Protection Agency to reaffirm fuel-economy goals for the next nine years, calling for cars and trucks to average 36 miles per gallon by 2025.


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