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On-Road Fuel Economy of Vehicles in the United States: 1923-2013

This report documents and analyzes the changes in fuel economy of vehicles on U.S. roads between 1923 and 2013. Information about distances driven and fuel consumed was used to calculate the actual, on-road fuel economy for the entire fleet of all vehicles and for different classes of vehicles, with primary interest in light-duty vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs). As a sample from the results, the following are the main findings for the entire fleet of all vehicles. Fuel economy decreased from 14.0 mpg in 1923 to 11.9 mpg in 1973. Starting in 1974, fuel economy increased rapidly to 16.9 mpg in 1991. Thereafter, improvements have been small, with fuel economy in 2013 at 17.6 mpg.

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