Fuel economy for 2021 model-year vehicles in the U.S. was flat from 2020 as people continued to buy less efficient trucks and SUVs, according to an annual government report released Monday.
The new vehicle fleet achieved 25.4 miles per gallon (10.8 kilometers per liter) for the model year, while greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2 grams per mile to a record low of 347, it said in its annual Automotive Trends Report Environmental Protection Agency. The fuel consumption figure for 2021 is equal to the record from the 2020 model year.
The performance met fuel economy and emissions standards that were eased under Donald Trump. The requirements will begin increasing at a higher rate in 2026 under the standards adopted by the Biden administration.
The EPA said in a statement that all vehicle types have record low carbon dioxide emissions, but “the market shift from cars to SUVs and pickups has negated some of the advantages of the overall fleet.”
In the 2021 model year, cars and wagons, the most fuel-efficient vehicles, have fallen to 26% of new vehicle production in the U.S., well below the 50% market share of 2013, the EPA said. SUVs accounted for a record 45% of new vehicle sales for the 2021 model year, while trucks accounted for 16%.
Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, had the lowest fuel consumption and highest emissions of all manufacturers at 21.3 mpg (9.1 kilometers per liter) and 417 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. Tesla, which makes only electric vehicles, had the highest mileage of 121.5 mpg (51.7 kilometers per liter) and zero carbon dioxide emissions.
Nine manufacturers were above their EPA carbon dioxide emissions standard: BMW, Volkswagen, Kia, Nissan, Hyundai, General Motors, Mazda, Stellantis and Mercedes. Five were below their standards, meaning they emitted less than allowed: Tesla, Subaru, Ford, Honda and Toyota. Automakers can meet the standards with credits they’ve acquired or bought from other manufacturers.
The EPA said that since the 2004 model year, average U.S. fuel economy has increased by 6.1 miles per gallon (2.6 kilometers per liter), or 32%.
It said production of gas-electric hybrids reached a new high of 9% of all vehicles in the 2021 model year, while electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles accounted for 4% of total national production.