One of the biggest changes within the auto industry in recent years has been the push toward more fuel efficient vehicles. This movement culminated in 2012, when the average fuel economy of new vehicles hit an all-time high, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA's annual report found that the average fuel economy of all light vehicles was 23.6 mpg in 2012, which was 1.2 mpg higher than in 2011. That is the second-largest increase in the past 30 years, AutoBlog reported, and it was particularly impressive because almost every automaker studied boasted a significant improvement from the year before. Mazda led the way with an average of 27.1 mpg, while Honda, Volkswagen and Subaru were right behind it.
"Today's new vehicles are cleaner and more fuel efficient than ever, saving American families money at the gas pump and helping to keep the air that we breathe cleaner," said Janet McCabe, of the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "Each year new technologies are coming online to keep driving these positive trends toward greater and greater efficiency."
Automobiles with better fuel economy not only save drivers money at the pump, but they also offer savings with regard to vehicle maintenance. Increased efficiency typically means that all aspects of the car are operating at a high level, limiting the need for frequent tune ups or repairs.