Auburn Hills, Michigan – Automotive data and intelligence provider JATO Dynamics has reported that the U.S. car market is currently behind Europe and Japan in the global drive for more fuel-efficient cars. Analysis revealed that buyers in the U.S. are choosing much the same cars as previously, whereas their Japanese and European counterparts are making a move towards more fuel-efficient cars with lower CO2 emissions. 

“Consumer green intentions are stronger than ever, but they are still voting traditionally with their wallets,” said David Mitchell, President Americas at JATO. “Historic larger-vehicle tastes, relatively low gas prices and poor selection of fuel-efficient vehicles all contribute toward a slow green transition.”

JATO said that this, in part, can be explained by the stringent CO2-based taxation measures in place throughout Europe, which are so far unenforced in the U.S. In France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., average CO2 emissions for new cars, minivans and SUVs stand at 3.26 tons/year since the beginning of 2008, a reduction of 0.11 tons at the same time last year, when the average stood at 3.37 tons/year. In Japan, the average CO2 emissions for new cars has fallen from 3.16 tons/year in 2007, to 3.10 tons/year during 2008. The American market averaged 5.77 tons/year during 2008.

In fuel consumption terms, the average year-to-date figures for cars, minivans and SUVs in the U.S. market stands at approximately 10.4 L/100km, compared to approximately 5.7 L/100km in Europe and Japan.

Although it is difficult to make direct comparisons between the markets due to differing test cycles, analysis still highlights a wide gulf between the American market and other global markets. JATO said that a higher proportion of small cars and diesel engines influence the European CO2 average, while minicars account 30 per cent of the Japanese market. In the U.S., excluding pickups and full-size vans, SUVs are responsible for the country’s high average, accounting for 30 per cent of the total market.

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