Average Gas Mileage of New U.S. Vehicles Did Not Improve in 2021

Heavy traffic on the American Legion Bridge connecting Virginia and Maryland
Traffic on the American Legion Bridge connecting Virginia and Maryland over the Potomac River in McLean, VA on Dec. 1, 2022. Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post via Getty Images
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New cars sold in the United States in 2021 got no better fuel mileage than the year before, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday.

The agency’s annual Automotive Trends Report found model year 2021 vehicles got just 25.4 miles per gallon, reflecting weakened CAFE standards implemented by the previous administration.

“Automakers won’t slash pollution and improve gas mileage unless strong standards make them do so,” Dan Becker, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Safe Climate Transport Campaign, said in a statement.

Despite their highly-touted EV and hybrid options, carmakers are still selling far more pickup trucks and SUVs than all other vehicles combined. As recently as 2013, cars and station wagons accounted for half of new cars sold in the U.S. in 2021, they accounted for just 26%. New efficiency requirements will take effect in 2026.

As reported by The Detroit News:

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles remained a tiny share of all vehicles produced in model year 2021 — 4%. Preliminary estimates for the 2022 model year showed that number doubled to more than 8%.

For a deeper dive:

AP, The Detroit News, The Washington Post, Axios, CNBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, Politico Pro

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