The average auto fleet fuel efficiency in the United States for the 2021 model year remained flat compared to the prior year. The annual Automotive Trends Report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows the average 2021 model year new vehicle fuel economy was 25.4 miles per gallon, which was the same result as in 2020.
The report says this was a record-high fleet fuel economy, which represented an increase over the results for 2004 of 32 percent or 6.1 miles per gallon. The new vehicle real-world carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in turn, decreased in 2021 to an average of 347 grams per mile – another record-high level, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Today’s report demonstrates the significant progress we’ve made to ensure clean air for all as automakers continue to innovate and utilize more advanced technologies to cut pollution,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said. “Working together across the public and private sector, we can deliver on 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, the data for 2021 shows that the Detroit Three were the three lowest-ranked automakers in the report. Stellantis actually had the lowest fuel economy of just 21.3 miles per gallon and General Motors was at 21.6 miles per gallon. Ford was the highest-ranked among the trio at 21.6 miles per gallon on average for its new car fleet. Probably the most worrying piece of data shows that Stellantis has been the manufacturer with the lowest fuel economy for the last 10 consecutive years.
Tesla, meanwhile, has been the manufacturer with the highest average fuel economy for the last four years but that’s perfectly understandable considering all of the company’s models have zero tailpipe emissions. For 2021, the Tesla Model 3 was the vehicle with the highest fuel economy (139.1 mpg) but interestingly, EPA’s preliminary data for 2022 shows it could be outranked by the Lucid Air. In the segment of vehicles with an internal combustion engine, the Mitsubishi Mirage kept its top spot for 2021 with an average of 41.6 mpg.