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Agency Releases Annual Automotive Trends Report Showing Manufacturers Still Struggling to Comply with Obama Era Standards without Use of Credits

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WASHINGTON (January 6, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual Automotive Trends Report, which provides the public with a single source of information about new light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fuel economy, technology data, and auto manufacturers’ performance in meeting the agency’s GHG emissions standards. The report shows that fuel economy remains high but has slipped slightly from the record pace set in previous years and that reducing emissions through innovation remains a priority for automotive manufacturers.

“This report shows in detail how few auto manufactures were able to meet the unrealistic emissions standards set by the Obama Administration without resorting to purchasing emission credits,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We have set realistic standards in 2020 that will reduce emissions as well as vehicle costs and maintain consumer choice going forward.”

Fuel economy for Model Year (MY) 2019 was 24.9 miles per gallon, lower than MY 2018 by only 0.2 mpg. Since MY 2004, when the fleet averaged 19.3 mpg, fuel economy, and CO2 emissions have improved in twelve out of fifteen years.

The report also assesses compliance performance for individual automakers, and for the U.S. fleet, with the GHG emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. This year’s report once again shows that only 3 large manufacturers complied with MY 2019 standard based on technology factors of their vehicles alone. When accounting for credits, however, the report shows all large manufacturers are in compliance. Eleven out of 14 large manufacturers used a combination of technology improvements, banked credits, and purchased credits to maintain compliance in MY 2019.

Key Highlights

• Due to a combination of technology, innovation and regulatory flexibility, the average new MY 2019 vehicle sold in the U.S. was near record low GHG emissions and near record high fuel economy.
• New vehicles continue to make progress on GHG emissions while providing consumer choice for Americans. For example, sport utility vehicles reached record high market share, while also achieving record high fuel economy and record low CO2 emissions.
• Manufacturers continue to have a large bank of credits to use toward compliance in future model years, however, about two-thirds of the current credits will expire after model year 2021.

To read the full Automotive Trends Report, please visit:


Each manufacturer fleet generates credits if the fleet average emissions performance is below the standards, or deficits if it is above the standards. Credits, or deficits, that manufacturers have accrued in previous model years, credits earned as part of the early credit program, credit trades, credit forfeitures, and credit expirations are also important components in determining the final compliance status of each manufacturer. Manufacturers that maintain a positive, or zero, credit balance are considered in compliance with the GHG program. Manufacturers that end any model year with a deficit have up to three years to offset that deficit to avoid non-compliance.

About the Report

This annual report is part of the EPA’s commitment in providing the public with transparent information about new light-duty vehicle GHG emissions, fuel economy, technology data, and auto manufacturers' performance in meeting the agency’s GHG emissions standards. EPA has collected data on every new light-duty vehicle model sold in the United States since 1975. Data is collected to support several national programs, including EPA criteria pollutant and GHG standards, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, and vehicle Fuel Economy and Environment labels.