Fuel economy developments over the decade from 2005 to 2015
While the average fuel economy of vehicles continues to improve, the rate of progress has slowed in recent years. An IEA report looking at fuel economy development in the 2005-2015 decade for the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) shows that average amount of fuel required to travel 100 km improved by 1.1% in 2014 and 2015, down from 1.8% between 2005 and 2008. This is consistent with an increasing shift globally towards ‘crossover’ vehicles (medium sized SUVs and pick-ups) that strengthened since 2010. It also reflects changes in the composition of sales globally, including increased sales in non-OECD markets and shifts occurring within the OECD, and comes in conjunction with a major change in comparison with the first half of the last decade: since 2014, non-OECD countries have achieved faster fuel economy improvements than the total of all OECD economies.
Light Duty Vehicles sold across all the OECD use less fuel than those sold in non-OECD countries: this reflects a technological gap in engine technology between the two regions. Despite this advantage, the popularity of large, heavy and powerful vehicles in the United States America and Australia results in fuel use per kilometre travelled in these countries greater than outside the OECD.
The analysis shows that ambitious policy frameworks, including fuel economy standards and differentiated taxation by fuel economy are linked with improved fuel economy. In the absence of policies, the tendency is for most vehicle attributes (including fuel economy) is to stagnate.
A comparative assessment of vehicle prices identifies significant differences in vehicle prices across the main markets, with vehicles sold in the OECD and China having prices well above those marketed in Brazil, India and Mexico. The analysis of prices against other vehicle attributes also shows that achieving fuel economy reductions can come at a lower cost for consumers if the policy ambition is stronger for larger vehicle segments and power classes, where fuel economy performance has a secondary importance in the determination of vehicle prices.
Drivers shaping the fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles
This GFEI report investigates the development of fuel consumption and other characteristics (dimensions, weight, fuel type, power and displacement) for new light-duty vehicles entering the global fleet between 2005 and 2013 for more than 20 countries.
It provides insights on the drivers that influenced the evolution of these parameters, accounting in particular for the influence of the policy context (e.g. the presence of fuel economy regulations, vehicle and fuel taxation schemes) and differences in average income levels.
Building on examples taken from some of the most representative global car markets (detailed insights are available for 14 countries), this analysis shows that regulatory measures (such as fuel economy standards) and fiscal incentives (such as differentiated vehicle taxes) have been effective instruments to deliver energy efficiency improvements in the transport sector.