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This article was published on January 12, 2021


Despite EV growth, gas mileage of US vehicle fleets has tanked

Even though there are manufacturer incentives, they're not working

Despite EV growth, gas mileage of US vehicle fleets has tanked
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Even though it was a bumper year for electric vehicle (EV) sales in 2020, sadly, the average gas mileage of manufacturer’s vehicle fleet got worse.

According to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), shared by Carscoops, the average fleet fuel efficiency for 2019 model year vehicles is 24.9 mpg – just 5.6 mpg higher than it was 15 years ago.

This is a drop of 0.2 mpg over the previous period. Fleet averages consider the fuel efficiency of individual cars and how many of them were made.

[Read: Meet the 4 scale-ups using data to save the planet]

It’s thought the US’ love of large inefficient sports utility vehicles and trucks are responsible for this decline in average miles per gallon. Some 50% of all US vehicles produced fall into this category.

Whereas EVs make up less than 2% of the US market.

Even though new electrified vehicles have come to market, carmakers are still using emissions credits — a sort of fine that carmakers have to pay if they don’t meet emissions regulations — to meet environmental compliance requirements, Reuters reports.

General Motors and Fiat Chrysler both saw their fleet efficiencies fall, which is not surprising considering they aren’t quite yet on the electric bandwagon. General Motors purchased 10.7 million credits to offset its fleet efficiencies.

The likes of Ford, with its new all-electric Mustang Mach-E saw its fleet average rise by 0.1 mpg.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The EPA does point out that in 12 of the last 15 years, the average vehicle efficiency has increased. Although, not by much. In 2004, fleet vehicle efficiency sat at 19.3 mpg.

The EPA expects fleet fuel economy to rise to a record-breaking 25.7 mpg for the 2020 model year as more efficient vehicles reach the market.


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