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January 7, 2021

Latest Automotive Trends Report Reveals Cars Are Getting Bigger, Less Fuel Efficient

Thanks to the insatiable appetite for crossovers and SUVs, the average fuel economy of carmakers as a whole dropped in one of the largest markets in the world, the U.S. According to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, carmakers as a whole saw their average fuel economy drop to 24.9 mpg or 10.58 km/L, while CO2 emissions went up by 1 percent compared to 2018.

For 2019, Tesla is once more the most fuel-efficient manufacturer. Discounting the all-EV brand though, Honda is at second place with 28.9 mpg or 12.28 km/L.

This is just one of the conclusions reached by its annual EPA Automotive Trends Report. Other worthwhile trends noticed by the EPA are:
  • Over the last five years, 10 out of the 14 largest carmakers in the U.S. saw a decrease in their real-world CO2 emission rates. Between 2014 to 2019, Kia achieved the biggest improvement followed by Honda and Hyundai. Meanwhile, three carmakers had the largest increase in the same timeframe: Mazda, GM, and Ford.
  • 11 out of 14 carmakers showed increased fuel efficiency between 2014 to 2019 with Tesla in pole position. Among traditional carmakers though, Kia had the largest fuel economy gains followed by Honda and Hyundai. Meanwhile, Mazda had the biggest drop in fuel economy, followed by GM and Ford.
  • While Tesla is the most fuel-efficient car manufacturer in America in 2019, among traditional makes, Honda takes the top spot with an average fuel economy of 28.9 mpg or 12.28 km/L followed by Hyundai, and surprisingly, Subaru. For 2020, the trend will be more or less the same. The preliminary ranking shows Tesla, Honda, Hyundai, and Subaru.
  • Four-cylinder engines are the most popular option in the US, capturing 60 percent in 2019, while 8 cylinder engines will drop to just 10 to 12 percent—the lowest it has ever been since the study started in 1975.
  • Vehicle power has dramatically increased since 1975. The average new vehicle in 2019 produced 75 percent more power than a new vehicle in 1975, and 140 percent more power than an average new vehicle in 1981. In 2019, the average new vehicle horsepower is 245 horsepower. This is expected to increase to 247 horsepower in 2020.
  • On the average, a new vehicle sold in 2019 will have a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 96 km/h) time of 7.9 seconds—the fastest it has ever been. This is expected to fall even more in 2020 to 7.7 seconds.
  • The carmaker with highest average horsepower is Tesla at 392 horsepower, followed by FCA at 299 horsepower, Mercedes-Benz at 287 horsepower, and Ford at 285 horsepower. 
  • In the adoption of advanced technologies, 55 percent of all new models in 2019 have gasoline direct injection or GDI. Mazda is the highest adopter of GDI at 100 percent, joined by Mercedes-Benz. BMW is third at 99 percent. As for turbocharging, 35 percent of all 2019 models have them. BMW takes the lead there with 99 percent of products equipped with turbochargers, followed by Mercedes-Benz at 98 percent.
  • When it comes to transmission technology, 28 percent of all new models in 2019 are sold with CVTs, while 51 percent have 7 or more gears. Subaru is the leader in CVT deployment with 94 percent of all models sold with the gearbox followed by Nissan at 86 percent, and Honda at 70 percent. Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and mainstream brands Volkswagen and Mazda have also chosen to eschew the technology.
  • When it comes to the unending debate between the efficiency of an automatic gearbox versus a manual one, since carmakers have been employing more and more forward gears, in 2019, the automatic gearbox is 5 percent more efficient than a manual.
  • Vehicle size (determined by the space enclosed by the four tires), has grown in the last ten years. According to the EPA, it’s up 4 percent to 50.8 square feet (4.71 square meters). The largest increase is seen in pickup trucks at 3.3 percent, while SUVs are up just slightly at 0.3 percent. 


  1. Nakakainggit ang 245hp average,at ang 7.9sec 0-100kph acceleration rate sa US. Me compact sedan ba dito sa pinas na meron ganyang spec? Except, of course, for those high specced performance cars such as sti and type r.

    1. The high horsepower can be attributed to pickup trucks, muscle cars, etc. in the US.

      As for your second question--that sort of spec isn't available in a compact car locally.


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