America’s new cars are more fuel-efficient than ever before
The 1990s-style thirst for power that gave rise to America’s fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs is being replaced by a hunger for fuel-efficient cars, helping auto manufacturers in 2012 beat their previous record for overall gas mileage.
The average model-year 2012 vehicle got 23.6 miles per gallon, according to a new report from the EPA. OK, that’s still pretty lame — but it’s 1.2 mpg better than the previous year, the second-largest annual increase in history.
And Dan Becker of the Clean Climate Campaign points out that this improvement marks real progress made under Obama’s new fuel-economy standards: “That’s roughly 5% in the program’s first year. We are on track to hitting the 54.5 mpg standard for 2025. This is a big deal.”
The average new car last year had 222 horsepower. That’s a helluva lot of horses, but nonetheless a reduction of eight relative to 2011, according to the report. That helped improve overall mileage, as did a 150-pound reduction in the weight of the average car.
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