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Automakers Beat GHG Standards for Third Year Running

Vehicle manufacturers have surpassed the more stringent 2014 standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the third consecutive year, while model year 2014 fuel economy remains steady at the highest level ever recorded, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The findings were included in two reports the agency released last week: the annual report on fuel economy trends and a report on the auto industry’s progress toward meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

The Greenhouse Gas Manufacturer Performance Report concludes that for model year 2014, manufacturers are over-complying with the GHG standards by 13 grams of CO2 per mile, or about 1.4 miles per gallon (mpg).

The agency’s annual Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2015 report shows that fleet-wide model year 2014 fuel economy remained steady at the highest recorded level, 24.3 mpg, with truck fuel economy reaching a record high of 20.4 mpg label average. In the last 10 years, fuel economy has increased significantly, improving 5 mpg or 26 percent overall.

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The EPA estimates that, through 2014, the GHG emissions standards have resulted in reducing cumulative emissions by roughly 60 million metric tons of CO2 — roughly the amount of GHGs emitted from electricity use from over 8 million homes in one year. These standards could save Americans who purchase a new MY 2025 vehicle more than $8,000 in lifetime fuel costs. The program in total will save Americans $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, will reduce U.S. fuel use by 12 billion barrels of oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons.

In 2012, the EPA and the Department of Transportation began implementing standards projected to double new vehicle fuel economy by 2025 and cut new vehicle GHG emissions by half. Because of this program, the EPA says consumers have many more choices when shopping for vehicles with higher fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions compared to just five years ago.

In other vehicle emissions news, Ford earlier this year announced that its 2016 F-150 truck will have an available gaseous-fuel prep package that enables 5.0-liter, V8-powered models to run on clean, low-cost compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane, making Ford the only manufacturer of a CNG/propane-capable half-ton pickup. Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane — it is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of approximately 3,600 psi. Around 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically and vehicles operating on CNG can reduce tailpipe CO2 emissions by approximately 20 percent when compared with the same vehicle operating on gasoline.

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