U.S. auto fleet fuel efficiency flat in 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. new vehicle automotive fleet’s fuel efficiency was flat in the 2021 model year as automakers sold more sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks compared to cars, while the Detroit Three lagged behind foreign competitors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday the fleetwide real-world average was 25.4 miles per gallon in the 2021 model year, the same as in 2020. The EPA estimates the 2022 fleetwide efficiency average will rise to 26.4 mpg.

Automakers are meeting rising vehicle emissions requirements in part through using credits earned in prior years or by buying excess credits from rivals.

Chrysler-parent Stellantis had the lowest fuel economy among all automakers at 21.3 mpg in 2021, while General Motors was 21.6 mpg and Ford Motor at 22.9 mpg.

The three U.S. automakers had the lowest fleet wide fuel economy of 14 major car companies.

The report showed Stellantis led all automakers in buying emissions credits and acquiring 102.6 million megagrams of credits in the 2021 model year, while Tesla sold 72 million. General Motors purchased 28.3 million credits and Mercedes-Benz purchased 17.4 million. Honda sold 50.5 million credits and Toyota 38.9 million.

The EPA said average new vehicle real-world carbon dioxide emissions in 2021 per vehicle fell by 0.6% to a record low of 347 grams per mile down 2 grams over 2020.

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