The average car fleet fuel efficiency in the United States for the 2021 model year remained flat compared to the previous year. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Automotive Trends Report shows the average fuel economy of 2021 model year vehicles is 25.4 miles per gallon, which is the same result as in 2020.
The report says this is the highest fleet fuel economy on record, which is an increase over 2004’s output of 32 percent or 6.1 miles per gallon. New vehicle real-world carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in turn, will decline in 2021 to an average of 347 grams per mile – another record high, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Today’s report demonstrates the significant progress we have made to ensure clean air for all as automakers continue to innovate and leverage more advanced technologies to reduce pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Working together across the public and private sectors, we can deliver on the EPA’s mission to protect public health, especially our most vulnerable populations, and advance President Biden’s ambitious agenda to combat the climate crisis.”
However, 2021 data shows that Detroit Three are the three lowest-ranked automakers in the report. Stellantis actually has the lowest fuel economy at just 21.3 miles per gallon and General Motors is at 21.6 miles per gallon. Ford is the highest rated of the three with an average of 21.6 miles per gallon for its new car fleet. Perhaps the most worrying piece of data shows that Stellantis has been the manufacturer with the lowest fuel economy for the last 10 years in a row.
Tesla, meanwhile, has been the manufacturer with the highest average fuel economy over the last four years, but that’s understandable considering all of the company’s models have zero tailpipe emissions. For 2021, the Tesla Model 3 is the vehicle with the highest fuel economy (139.1 mpg), but interestingly, the EPA’s preliminary data for 2022 suggests it could be outperformed by the Lucid Air. In the internal combustion engine vehicle segment, the Mitsubishi Mirage maintains the top spot for 2021 with an average of 41.6 mpg.