Washington, D.C. – For the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting an increase in fuel efficiency, with a corresponding decrease in average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for new cars and light-duty trucks.

“American drivers are increasingly looking for cars that burn cleaner, burn less gas and won’t burn a hole in their wallets,” said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re working to help accelerate this trend with strong investments in clean energy technology, particularly for the cars and trucks that account for almost 60 per cent of greenhouse gases from transportation sources. Cleaner, more efficient vehicles can help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, cut harmful pollution, and save people money, and it’s clear that’s what the American car buyer wants.”

For 2008, the last year for which EPA has final data from automakers, the average fuel economy value was US 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km). EPA projects a small improvement in 2009, based on pre-model year sales estimates provided to EPA by automakers, to 21.1 mpg (11.1 L/100 km).

The report confirms that average CO2 emissions have decreased, and fuel economy has increased, each year beginning in 2005. Average CO2 emissions have decreased by 39 grams per mile, or 8 per cent, while average fuel economy has increased by 1.8 mpg, or 9 per cent, since 2004. This positive trend, beginning in 2005, reverses a long period of increasing CO2 emissions and decreasing fuel economy from 1987 through 2004, and returns CO2 emissions and fuel economy to levels of the early 1980s.

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