Eco-conscious Angelenos who watch the dollars fly by while they fill their tank should consider trading their gas guzzler in on a Hyundai or Kia. This month, the EPA released its report entitled “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011.” From model year (MY) 2009 through 2011, Hyundai took the top spot for both fuel economy and CO2 emissions of all automobile manufacturers in the United States; Kia was just a tad behind.
The report summarizes major trends in CO2 emissions and fuel economy for gasoline- and diesel-fueled personal vehicles sold in the United States, beginning MY 1975. Personal vehicles are those vehicles that the EPA classifies as cars, light-duty trucks (sport utility vehicles, minivans, vans, and pickup trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings up to 8,500 pounds), or, beginning in MY 2011, medium-duty passenger vehicles (sport utility vehicles or passenger vans with gross vehicle weight ratings between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds). Overall, the report noted that the fleet-wide average real world MY 2010 personal vehicle CO2 emissions value is 394 grams per mile (g/mi) and fuel economy is 22.6 miles per gallon (MPG), both slight improvements over MY 2009 and the most favorable levels since this analysis began in 1975.
the automotive industry’s fleet-wide average real world MY 2010 CO2 emissions and fuel economy have marked slight improvements over MY 2009; in addition, currently, the levels are the most favorable since EPA began compiling its data in 1975. It included all major automakers in the United States, Asia, and Germany.
The EPA notes that 2011 data is preliminary. For the three-year period (2009 – 2011), Hyundai’s MPG increased from 25.1 to 27.5 MPG and its CO2 emissions decreased from 355 to 323 g/mi. Kia’s MPG rose from 24.2 to 27.2 MPG and its CO2 emissions decreased from 367 to 327 g/mi. In addition, the report noted that Kia had improved its fuel economy by 11.6% from 2009 to 2010; during that same period, it reduced CO2 emissions by 10.1%. This improvement was far better than all other major manufacturers. Daimler, with its preponderance of larger engines, racked up the worst stats; in addition, its improvement was less significant than the two Korean automakers. Daimler’s MPG increased from 19.5 to 20.0 MPG and its CO2 emissions decreased from 457 to 447 g/mi.
The EPA cautions that consumers should be cautious in making data comparisons between MY 2009 and MY 2010 as the former was a year of considerable turmoil in the automotive market. Due primarily to the economic recession, light-duty vehicle production was 34% lower in MY 2009 than in MY 2008, and the lowest since the database began in 1975. A complete executive summary can be reviewed at this link.