Fuel Consumption of Cars and Vans – Analysis - IEA (2023)

Lead authors
Sarah McBain
Alison Pridmore

Jacob Teter
Leonardo Paoli

  • Abstract
  • Tracking progress
  • Recommended actions
  • Resources

IEA (2021), Fuel Consumption of Cars and Vans, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/fuel-consumption-of-cars-and-vans

Global light-duty vehicle fuel economy improvements, Net Zero Scenario, 2005-2030


Tracking progress
(Video) Key findings from the IEA’s Energy Efficiency 2017 report

The urgency of policy action is underlined by the fact that fuel economy progress is stalling.Overcoming trends that have blocked further improvements in recent yearsrequiresaccelerated policy efforts andharmonisationofstandards beyond the national level.International co-operation and harmonisation can lower the costs of implementing and enforcing regulations,and encourage governments to draw upon existing policies in countries that havedemonstratedsuccess.

Average fuel consumption of new light-duty vehicles, 2005-2019


The amount of energy required to move a vehicle, which ismostlybased onitssize and weight, is a key determinant of fuel consumption. In general, larger and heavier vehicles require more energy,as well asmore power,to provide adequate acceleration.

While advances in vehicle technologyimprovedtherated fuel consumptionof allnew vehicles from 2010 to2019,a large shareofthese fuel savingshasbeen offset by increased vehicle weightandpower(vehicle attributes).The share of technical improvements that have been nullifiedbygreatervehicle size and power range from 40% in the UnitedStates, China and Europe, to 17% in India.

Fuel consumption is also determined by how efficientlyavehicle’s powertrain converts fuel into energy. Some powertrains are more efficient than others,resulting in differences in fuel consumption. Electric powertrains are more efficient than hybridones, followed by diesel and gasoline engines.

Changes in the market share of powertrain technologiesbetween 2010 and 2019(whether towardsgreateror lesserefficiency)havenot had a major impact on average fuel consumption in most markets.In Europe,higher fuel consumptionstemming fromconsiderably fewerdiesel powertrainsin usehas been offset by increases in hybrid and electricvehicles.In China, hybrid and electric powertrainuptakeoffsethigherfuel consumptiondue toa decrease in the market share of flex-fuel vehicles.

Decomposition of fuel consumption trends in China, 2010-2019


Decomposition of fuel consumption trends in the United States, 2010-2019


Decomposition of fuel consumption trends in India, 2010-2019


Decomposition of fuel consumption trends in Europe, 2010-2019


The overall increase in the average weightof vehicles sold globally stems fromadecline in the sales share of city and medium-sizedcars, accompanied by a massive shift toward SUVs.In fact, the sales share of small and large SUVs and pick-up trucksexpandedfrom 20%in 2010to almost 45% in 2019.Market share growth of small SUVshas beenthe greatest, and theywerethe mostpopularsegment in 2019.

While theSUVisationtrend is global,sales sharesof SUVs in 2019werethe highest in Canada (67%), Australia (66%) and the United States (65%). Sales shares remained below 40% in the largest car markets in Europe in 2019, while Japanhadthe lowest rate of SUV adoption. In contrast,China’sSUV sales shares have expanded the most, growing from 10% in 2010 to 42% in 2019.

Whilethe rise in SUVpopularityhas decelerated in the last two years,theirshare in total car salesis~3%higher than in 2019.Targeted policies arethereforeneeded to reversestallingfuel economy improvements, withmeasuresthataccelerate the adoption of efficient powertrain technologies and disincentivise the sale of vehiclesof ever-increasing size and weight.

(Video) How the Government can support technical & policy solutions to encourage lower carbon travel choices

SUV sales share by region, 2005-2019


Introduced in 2020, theSafer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Ruleset Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that were significantly less stringentthanprevious standards.TheSAFERuleestablished an annual fuel economy improvement rate of 1.5% for model years 2021-2026, while previousstandardsrequired a4.7% yearlyimprovementfor model years 2017-2025.TheSAFERulealso phased out the GHG credit multiplier for EVs in 2022 and extended the multiplier for natural gas vehicles to 2026.

InJanuary2021, the new US administration issued anexecutiveorderdirecting the EPA to reconsidertheSAFEprogramme, and in August 2021 arevision was proposedto establishmorestringentstandards starting in 2023. ComparedwithSAFE, the proposed standards represent a 10% greater improvement formodel year 2023 anda5% improvement in the years following. The revision proposesremoving the natural gas multiplier and extending the credit multiplier for electric vehiclestomodel year2025.Final ruleswill be established in December2021.

Canada aligns its standardscloselywiththose ofthe United States, and in response hasannounced that it will remain committed to adopting regulationswith the most stringent performance standards in North Americapost-2025.

Under itsCorporate Average Fuel Consumption (CAFC)scheme,Chinahasprogressively strengthenedits targets. In 2021, China set CAFC targetsof 4.0 L/100 km for 2025 and 3.2 L/100km for 2030(China-NEDC test cycle). Thesetargetswill require annual fuel consumptionreductionsof 6.5% by 2025 and 5.5% by 2030.

New energy vehicle (NEV) regulations stipulate the number of NEV credits each OEM must generateannuallyand are expressed as a percentage of total passenger car sales.The target for 2020 is 12% NEV credits, rising to 18% in 2023. The regulationtherebyincentivisesthe sale of vehicles with greater fuel efficiency,asthey generate more NEV credits.

The NEV creditschemeis scheduled to expire in 2023, leaving China without any specific ZEV policies. However, China’sNew Energy Automobile Industry Plan(2021-2035) sets a target for 20% ofvehiclesalesto beNEVs by 2025,and the China SocietyofAutomotiveEngineers targetsover 50% NEV sales by 2035.

Under the“Fit for 55”initiative,in 2021the European Commissionproposednew CO2emissions targets for 2030 and 2035. The new targets requireCO2emissions reductions of55%forcars and 50%forvans by 2030, and 100%for bothby 2035. Given thatiteffectively mandates that all vehicles sold be zero-emissionsby 2035, the target will acceleratethetransition to more efficient EV powertrains in Europe.

Recommended actions

Higher fuel prices are correlated with lower fuel consumption. European countriesas well asJapan and Korea,where high fuel taxes are levied,have the world’s lowestfuel consumptionper vehicle km.

In comparison,low fuel taxesin Canada, Australia and the UnitedStatescorrespond withabove-averagefuel consumption.Higherfuel taxescould thereforeencourage the uptake of fuel-efficient vehiclesin these countriesandsupportalignmentwith the NetZeroEmissionsby 2050Scenario.Importantly,to ensure that fuel taxes are not a form of regressive taxation, targeted measurescould be devised tooffset impacts on disproportionately affected segments.Furthermore,all governmentsmustmove towards eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

There is a direct correlation between a country’s long-term fuel prices and the average fuel economy of the vehicles its citizens purchase. Morocco is one country that has successfully phased out road fuel subsidies in recent years, while others such as India, Mexico and Indonesia have been working on lifting them.

Globally, direct subsidies for road transport fuels are still in place in at least 38 countries, mostly developing ones. As these subsidies disincentivise the designing and marketing of efficient vehicle equipment, countries should reduce or remove them to reach the SDS goals by promoting the uptake of technologies that improve average fuel economy.

One of the most widespread regulatory instruments to incentivise rapid adoption of efficient technologies areCAFEstandards.Although CAFE standards did not successfully drive down fuel consumption in the EuropeanUnionbetween 2017 and 2019,once the newEU2020 targetcame into force, average CO2emissions dropped12% within a single year (the same amountachieved between 2010 and 2019).

Additionally,“feebate” schemes, such asFrance’sbonus-malus policyintroduced in 2008,impose a fee onthe purchase ofvehiclesfor whichrated specific CO2emissions (gCO2/km)exceedapredetermined level, and subsidisethe purchase of vehicles with CO2emissions below a specified level. Althoughfeebatesdirectly target CO2emissions performance,theyindirectlyaffect vehicle weight and size, as larger, heavier vehicles tend to be less fuel-efficient.

New ZealandrecentlyintroducedaClean Car Discountthatprovides purchase rebates for eligible new and used electric LDVs.Italso plans toimplement aClean Car Standard,which will impose a fee on imported vehicles above a specified CO2emissions rating and provide a credit for vehicles below the rating.

(Video) Taking on Transport Emissions: Motorization Management and the Trade of Used Vehicles

Augmentingtaxes applied to the purchase of large, heavy cars can disincentivise the sale of ever-larger and heaviervehicles. Since 1955,Norwayhas implemented a one-off registration (purchase) tax on ICE light-duty vehicles based on vehicle kerb weightas well asCO2and NOxemissions.More recently,Franceimposed a tax on vehicles weighing over 1 800 kg,while BEVsand PHEVs remainexempt.

Alternatively, policies can discourage the uptake of large, heavy vehicles by reducing taxestopurchase and/or own smallones.In Japan,several incentives,includingloweracquisitionand insurance taxes,have promoted very small, lightweight vehicles known asKeicars.Likewise, in 2021 Indonesiarevisedexisting regulations that provide tax benefits for smaller fuel-efficient vehicles. Tax rates under Indonesia'snewLow-Carbon Emission Vehicleprogrammeareno longer based on engine capacity alone, but also take engine efficiency and emissionsinto account.

Cities can discourageSUV and large-vehicleuptake byimplementing measuresthat make owningthemless appealing.Parking fees can bebased on vehiclesize,and/or a greater share of parking spaces can be reserved for smaller cars.Forexample,Berlinis considering charging SUV owners as much asUSD 590for city parking permits(five times the cost for a small car), and inVancouver, Canada,owners of a 2023 or newer large ICE SUV or pick-up truckmay be charged USD 789annually for a residential parking permit.

To ensure fuel economy and CO2emissions standards are effective,governments must continueregulatory efforts to monitor andreducethe gap between real-world fuel economy and rated performance.Encouragingly,newEUregulationswill require on-board fuel consumption meters for all new cars from2021 onwards.

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI), was founded in 2009 to promote and support government action to improve energy efficiency oftheglobal light-duty vehicle fleet.The initiative draws on the expertise ofsix partners,andpursues three core activities:

  • Providing data and research analysis of fuel economy potential by country and region
  • Supporting national and regional policy makers
  • Raisingawareness among stakeholders (e.g.vehicle manufacturers) through outreach and campaigns

In 2019,the GFEIreaffirmed their targetof doubling the fuel economy of new passenger vehicles globally by 2030 (relative to 2005), and extended this targetto a 50% reduction in new passenger vehicle per-kilometre CO2emissions by 2030(relative to 2005).Given slow progressin fuel economy improvements to date, the global average fuel consumption of new light-duty vehicles needs to decrease 4.3% per year from 2019 to 2030to achieve the GFEI’s 2030 target.

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) works to secure real fuel economy improvements across the globe and maximum deployment of efficient vehicle technologies – encompassing LDVs and HDVs and including the full range of technologies, such as hybrid and fully electric vehicles. The GFEI promotes these objectives through shared analysis and advocacy, offering country policy support and tools. The GFEI’s partners are the IEA, the UNEP, the OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF), the ICCT, the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and the FIA Foundation.

The Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP) is an international network that serves to foster collaborative research, development, and deployment (RD&D) and to provide unbiased information on clean, energy-efficient, and sustainable fuels and related engine and vehicle technology.

(Video) Industrial Energy Efficiency Benchmarking and Best Practice

The IEA Clean and Efficient Combustion Technology Collaboration Programme carries out experimental and computational research related to internal combustion in engines and gas turbines, and furnace combustion.

Notes and references
  1. Craglia, M., & Cullen, J. (2019). Do technical improvements lead to real efficiency gains? Disaggregating changes in transport energy intensity.Energy Policy, 134, 110991.

Craglia, M., & Cullen, J. (2019). Do technical improvements lead to real efficiency gains? Disaggregating changes in transport energy intensity.Energy Policy, 134, 110991.

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Technology report Fuel Economy in Major Car Markets Technology and Policy Drivers 2005-2017


What determines the fuel consumption of a car? ›

The amount of fuel consumed depends on the engine, the type of fuel used, and the efficiency with which the output of the engine is transmitted to the wheels.

What is average fuel consumption in car? ›

The average fuel economy for new 2020 model year cars, light trucks and SUVs in the United States was 25.4 miles per US gallon (9.3 L/100 km).

What is fuel efficiency analysis? ›

Fuel efficiency is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the ratio of effort to result of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier (fuel) into kinetic energy or work.

Do vans use more fuel? ›

Yes, the bigger the van, the bigger the fuel consumption. But the difference in fuel consumption between small vans and medium vans may not be as big as you might expect. If you drive a lot of miles, an extra 20 or so mpg is going to add up.

What causes high fuel consumption in cars? ›

This bad habit is threefold – driving too fast, accelerating too quickly, and stopping too suddenly. All three of these actions lead to high fuel consumption. Where possible, you should accelerate slowly and drive with the speed of traffic.

How much fuel does a van use per km? ›

Data on fuel consumption of trucks

Let's settle on an average of around 30 or 40 litres of diesel every 100 km. For larger trucks with a payload around 23,500 kg the consumption can increase up to 38 litres per 100 kilometres. Smaller vehicles and those with a smaller load consume less.

What is a good average fuel consumption? ›

The generally accepted standard has risen from a consumption of around 8.1 to 7.1 litres per 100km (around 60 miles) (35-40mpg) in the past to more like 5.6 to 5.1 litres (50-55mpg). As a rule of thumb, vehicles listed at less than 6.0 litres/100km are considered to have 'good' MPG.

What is the formula to calculate fuel consumption? ›

How is Fuel Consumption Calculated?
  1. Calculation. (Litres used X 100) ÷ km travelled = Litres per 100km.
  2. The data you need for this calculation is. Odometer at 1st fuel fill eg 1000km. Odometer ar 2nd fuel fill eg 1500km. ...
  3. Example a car uses 65 litres to travel 500km. (65 X 100) ÷ 500 = 13 Litres/100km.

What percentage of fuel is used by cars? ›

On an energy content basis, finished motor gasoline accounted for 58% of total U.S. transportation energy use in 2021, while distillate fuels, mostly diesel, accounted for 24%, and jet fuel accounted for 11%.

What means fuel consumption? ›

Fuel consumption is the rate at which an engine uses fuel, expressed in units such as miles per gallon or liters per kilometer. Engine designers strive for more power, lower fuel consumption, lighter weight, and better reliability.

Which van has the best fuel consumption? ›

Top 5 Small Vans By MPG
  1. Ford Fiesta Van - 80.7MPG.
  2. Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo - 68.8MPG.
  3. Ford Transit Courier - 65.7MPG. ...
  4. Renault Kangoo, Nissan NV-250, Mercedes-Benz Citan - 62.8MPG. ...
  5. Fiat Fiorino - 62.8MPG.

What is the most fuel-efficient used van? ›

Ford Transit Connect has the best MPG for work vans as it boasts the best in class fuel economy at 25.5 MPG.
Cargo Vans Gas Mileage Comparison.
ModelCombined Fuel Economy (MPG)
Ford Transit Connect25.5
Nissan NV20025
RAM Promaster City24
Mercedes-Benz Metris22
7 more rows
Sep 11, 2020

What is the most efficient van? ›

The 2021 Nissan NV200 is the most affordable brand-new compact cargo van and it achieves the best fuel economy of the class. The 2022 Ram ProMaster City is a good compact commercial van, but the more customizable Ford Transit Connect is better for most.

What factors affect fuel consumption? ›

Factors that affect fuel efficiency
  • Driving behaviour: Rapid acceleration, speeding, driving at inconsistent speeds and even extended idling can increase your fuel consumption. ...
  • Weather: The colder it is, the worse your fuel consumption will be. ...
  • Weight: It's a fact that lighter cars use less fuel.
Sep 4, 2018

How can fuel consumption be reduced? ›

Always drive at or right below the speed limit, especially on interstate highways. Avoid rapid accelerations and raising your RPMs excessively. Streamline your vehicle. Many people become most aware of their gas mileage when they are driving great distances.

What causes poor fuel economy? ›

Clogged or Damaged Fuel Injectors

One of the most common culprits for a drop in fuel efficiency is dirty fuel injectors. Fuel injectors are the nozzles that spray fuel into each engine cylinder. A fuel injector's spray pattern must be very precise to properly mix with air and combust inside the engine.

How many kms Can a van run in 1 Litre of diesel? ›

Depending upon your vehicle & assuming it to be a normal domestic car, one can expect to get 1 liter diesel = 14–17 kms of mileage.

How do I calculate fuel consumption per 100km? ›

The calculation is: litres / distance * 100 = l/100km. For example: 57 litres / 635 km * 100 = 8.98l/100km. If you know the price of fuel, then you can simply multiply the price per litre by the result and that gives you your cost per 100km.

How much gas does a van use? ›

Fuel Economy of 2016 Vans, Passenger Type
EPA MPGOwner MPG Estimates
2016 Chevrolet Express 2500 2WD Passenger 8 cyl, 6.0 L, Automatic 6-spd
16 combined city/highway MPG 15 city 19 highway 6.2 gals/ 100 milesView Estimates How can I share my MPG?
2016 GMC Savana 2500 2WD (Passenger) 8 cyl, 6.0 L, Automatic 6-spd
17 more rows

Which car has the least fuel consumption? ›

Most Fuel-Efficient Compact Cars
RankMake & ModelCity mpg
1Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue40
2Toyota Corolla LE Hybrid37
3Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE24
4Kia Forte LXS (2.0L)22
7 more rows
Aug 5, 2022

How do I calculate fuel consumption in Excel? ›

How To Calculate Fuel Consumption Using MIcrosoft Excel Formula

How do you calculate the rate of fuel consumption and its calorific value? ›

The formula is, cal. value = 343.3 x fixed carbon % + α x % volatile matter kJ/kg. Goutel formula is unreliable for fuels having high percentage in oxygen.

What Transport uses the most fuel? ›

For the most part, each transportation mode is dominated by a different fuel type. Light-duty vehicles use the most GGEs of fuel per year, followed by medium/heavy trucks and buses. Water transportation relies mainly on residual fuel oil.

Do trucks use more gasoline than cars? ›

Pickup trucks and SUVs usually come equipped with larger engines which consume a lot of gas. Where cars can give 30 to 40 MPG in the city, trucks can hardly give 20 to 25 MPG. Cars also offer great passenger comfort.

What is the efficiency of a car? ›

Modern gasoline engines have a maximum thermal efficiency of more than 50%, but road legal cars are only about 20% to 35% when used to power a car.

How do you read car fuel consumption? ›

Divide mileage by fuel usage to see your car's fuel consumption. This tells you how many miles you drove per gallon of gas. For example, if you drove 335 miles before refueling, and you filled your car up with 12 gallons of gas, your fuel consumption was 27.9 miles per gallon, or mpg (335 miles / 12 gallon = 27.9 mpg).

How does engine size affect fuel consumption? ›

How does engine size affect fuel economy? With a larger engine able to burn more fuel with each revolution it turns in a minute (rpm), it'll usually consume more fuel than a smaller engine would during the same journey. This is a very important consideration when it comes to choosing a new car.

How can I reduce the fuel consumption of my car? ›

Adopt these 5 fuel-efficient driving techniques to lower your vehicle's fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 25%.
  1. Accelerate gently. The harder you accelerate the more fuel you use. ...
  2. Maintain a steady speed. ...
  3. Anticipate traffic. ...
  4. Avoid high speeds. ...
  5. Coast to decelerate.
Dec 7, 2021

What causes poor fuel economy? ›

Clogged or Damaged Fuel Injectors

One of the most common culprits for a drop in fuel efficiency is dirty fuel injectors. Fuel injectors are the nozzles that spray fuel into each engine cylinder. A fuel injector's spray pattern must be very precise to properly mix with air and combust inside the engine.


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