Emission Facts: Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks
The figures presented in this document are averages only. Individual vehicles may differ in miles traveled and pollution emitted per mile than indicated here. Emission rates and fuel consumption totals may differ slightly from original sources due to rounding.
The emission rates for hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) shown in the following tables are from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway vehicle emission factor models. They assume an average, properly maintained vehicle on the road in July 2000, operating on typical gasoline on a warm summer day (72-96 degrees F). Emissions may be higher in very hot (especially HC) or very cold (especially CO) weather.
The calculations for Total Annual Pollution Emitted and Fuel Consumed are based on an average annual passenger car mileage of 12,500 miles and an average annual light truck mileage of 14,000 miles. Fuel consumption is based on fleetwide average in-use fuel economy of 21.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for passenger cars and 17.2 mpg for light trucks, as reported in the 19th edition of the "Transportation Energy Data Book," prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy.
- These emission factors and fuel consumption rates are averages for the entire in-use fleet. Newer cars and trucks will emit less pollution and use less gasoline; older cars and trucks may emit more pollution and use more gasoline.
- Carbon dioxide, while not regulated as an emission, is the transportation sector's primary contribution to climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions are directly proportional to fuel economy--each 1% increase (decrease) in fuel consumption results in a corresponding 1% increase (decrease) in carbon dioxide emissions.
- The total annual emissions and fuel consumption are greater for light trucks than was presented in the April 1998 version of this fact sheet. This reflects the increasing trend toward the largest, heaviest light trucks, which currently and in the past have had less stringent emission standards and lower fuel economy than do the lighter light trucks and cars. The new "Tier 2" emission standards taking effect starting with the 2004 model year will bring all light trucks into compliance with the same emission standards as cars (for HC, CO, and NOx).
For More Information
You can access many additional documents on emissions and fuel consumption of passenger cars and light trucks electronically from the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Web site at:
You can also contact the National Vehicle and Fuel Emission Laboratory library for document information, by mail or phone at:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
2000 Traverwood Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48105