Fuel economy

Improvements in the average fuel consumption of light-duty vehicles have slowed in recent years, significantly below the rate of annual improvement needed to stay on track with global climate goals.

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Key findings

Factors influencing passenger transport energy use, 2015-2018

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Energy use in transport continues to grow, despite efficiency improvements

In transport, despite improvements in vehicle efficiency, energy use continues to grow. Amongst other factors, sales of new, more efficient vehicles have slowed, consumers prefer larger cars, and typical vehicle occupancy rates have fallen.

Average new global fuel economy of light-duty vehicles, 2006-2017, and GFEI 2030 target

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Fuel economy standards under real-world driving conditions must become significantly more stringent

Average fuel consumption of light-duty vehicles (LDVs) improved by only 0.7% in 2017 slowing from the 2005-16 rate of 1.8% per year. To get on track with the SDS, which is aligned with the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) 2030 targets, an annual improvement of 3.7% is needed. It is vital that standards become significantly more stringent and that vehicles comply with them in real-world driving conditions. Hopeful signs include ambitious but achievable CO2 standards passed in the EU and a proposal for stricter standards in China. Rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will also help achieve efficiency goals.
Our work

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) – a partnership of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Transport Forum of the OECD (ITF), the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis, and the FIA Foundation – works to secure real improvements in fuel economy and the maximum deployment of existing fuel economy technologies in vehicles across the world.