NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA Contends Gasoline Mileage Declined Slightly in Latest Model Cars

October 10, 2001

In its latest fuel economy statistics, the Environmental Protection Agency claims cars now arriving in showrooms get slightly less gasoline mileage on average than 2001 models. But some Bush administration officials are reportedly reluctant to increase government fuel standards because they see safety as the paramount consideration.

  • The report says that less than 6 percent of new model cars and trucks get 30 miles per gallon.
  • More than one third -- or 330 of the new models -- get less than 20 mpg.
  • The majority of the 865 cars, trucks and vans included in the annual fuel economy statistics -- 487 models -- get 20 to 30 mpg.
  • Overall, new passenger vehicles averaged 21 mpg -- compared to 20.4 last year, a 21-year low.

Two hybrid models -- the two-seat Honda Insight coupe and the five-seat Toyota Prius sedan -- topped the list of fuel misers for the third straight year, at 64 and 48 mpg, respectively.

By class, the best achievers are compact cars at 25.8 mpg, followed by small station wagons and sub-compact cars at almost 25 mpg, and mid-sized station wagons at 23.7.

Cargo and passenger vans and standard pickup trucks get an average of about 16 mpg.

In August, the House rejected a proposal to make sport utility vehicles attain the same fleet averages of 27.5 mpg that the government requires of automobiles.

Source: Associated Press, "Gasoline Mileage for New Cars Declines Slightly, EPA Reports," New York Times, October 10, 2001; based on News Release, "27th Annual Mileage Estimates for 2002 Model Year Cars," October 9, 2001, Environmental Protection Agency.


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