Emissions peaked in 2007 in both the U.S. and Europe before high fuel prices and then recession curbed and reversed emissions growth. This general pattern overshadowed the European automobile fleet’s more fuel efficient starting point, thanks in part to significantly higher fuel taxes in Europe than in the U.S.

regionUnited States

These graphs show the changes in emissions, emissions drivers, and policy in the Transportation sector in the US


Emissions Emissions and transport activity

Both passenger and freight travel increased significantly since 1980. Passenger travel dropped significantly during the recession.


    Emissions Drivers Emissions intensity

    Large gains in vehicle engine and transmission efficiency did not result in significant fuel efficiency gains, as cars became heavier. There was little shifting between transport modes (not shown).


      Policy Corporate average fuel economy standards

      Fuel efficiency standards remained largely unchanged for over two decades. Only recently have standards for passenger vehicles been revisited.