With 2014 coming to a close, it’s the right time to take stock of the achievements and advancements over the past year.
So how did 2014 measure up in terms of boosting vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing emissions?
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) advocacy group, it was a very good year indeed.
In a summary blog post, the NRDC says tightening fuel-efficiency standards and increased electric-car adoption made 2014 particularly green.
The group cites Environmental Protection Agency data showing record new-car average fuel economy of 24.1 mpg for 2013 models (the most recent with available data).
That upward trend is likely to continue in 2014. The Wards Auto Fuel Economy Index already estimates average fuel economy at 25.1 mpg for the first 11 months of 2014.
The NRDC also cites U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing that gasoline usage dropped 1.3 percent in the first nine months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.
The same research anticipates a further 1.4-percent drop in demand in 2015–despite currently-low gas prices and an expected increase in personal-vehicle use of 0.5 percent.
That’s largely due to efficiency improvements resulting from impending Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations–which mandate a fleet-average 54.5 mpg by 2025 (equivalent to 42 mpg on the window sticker).