Vehicle fuel economy improvements have slowed globally, according to the latest report from the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI): Fuel Economy In Major Car Markets: Technology And Policy Drivers 2005-2017.
The slowdown was especially pronounced in advanced economies; 27 countries saw an increase or stagnation in average vehicle CO2 emissions in the two years up to 2017.
The report, which this year for the first time includes an online, interactive country data browser, reviews developments in fuel economy and highlights the changes which have shaped the modern global fleet of light-duty vehicles (LDVs) over a 12-year period. It was authored by the International Energy Agency (IEA), in collaboration with International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), and was funded by the FIA Foundation, through GFEI.
Overall, global fuel economy has improved by an average of 1.7% per year over the past 12 years, although the rate of improvement has slowed to 1.4% in the past two years.
Improvements in fuel consumption slowed in advanced economies to an average of just 0.2% per year between 2015 and 2017. A total of 27 countries—including Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom—saw the fuel economy of their fleets stagnate or worsen from 2015 to 2017.
In advanced economies with fleets which have the worst fuel economy, such as the US and Canada, the average fuel consumption runs between 7.9 and 9 Lge/100 km, while the best (France and Italy) fell to between 5.2 and 6.5 Lge/100 km. There are several reasons for these differences, including fuel prices, and average vehicle size.
In contrast, the improvement of fuel use per kilometer in emerging economies accelerated to 2.3%. China saw new registrations of LDVs increase 17% per year in the period 2005 to 2017 while India saw an increase of 9% and Indonesia 7%. LDV sales in these economies have tripled since 2005 with the biggest rise in China, where sales were seven times higher in 2017 than in 2005.
These slumps in efficiency improvements are particularly concerning within the wider global context, GFEI noted. GFEI set a target to double fuel economy of LDVs by 2030, which is mirrored by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7.3. To achieve these targets now, annual improvements to the global fleet would have to be around an average of 3.7%—more than triple the improvement rate between 2016 and 2017.
A key driver of the recent developments of the average fuel consumption include the rapid decline of diesel sales in several major vehicle markets, most notably in Europe. Since 2015, diesel shares have fallen by 5-15 percentage points in the largest EU markets, a change that was not sufficiently counterbalanced by the 1-3 percentage point growth of electrified LDVs to maintain efficiency improvements over gasoline vehicles. . . .
The growing gap between tested value and the real driving fuel economy is another issue of concern. Every key vehicle market, with the exception of the US, has shown an increased gap between tested results and real-driving CO2 emissions of more than 10%, diverging to as high as 50%. . . .
Report can be downloaded here: https://www.globalfueleconomy.org/data-and-research/publications/gfei-working-paper-19