Technological Growth of Fuel Efficiency in European Automobile Market 1975-2015

Yuche Chen, Kejia Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus Citations


This paper looks at the technological growth of new car fleet fuel efficiency in the European Union between 1975 and 2015. According to the analysis results, from1975 to 2006 the fuel efficiency technology improvements were largely offset by vehicles' increased weight, engine size, and consumer amenities such as acceleration capacity. After 2006, downsizing in weight and engine capacity was observed in new car fleet, while fuel consumption decreased by 32% between 2006 and 2015. We adopt a statistical method and find that from 1975 to 2015, a 1% increase in weight would result in 0.3 to 0.5% increments in fuel consumption per 100 km, and a 1% reduction in 0-100 km/h acceleration time would increase fuel consumption by about 0.3%. Impacts of other attributes on fuel consumption are also assessed. To meet the European Union's 2021 fuel consumption target, downsizing of cars, as well as at least maintaining fuel efficiency technology growth trend observed between 2005 and 2015, are needed. Government policies on controlling improvement in acceleration performance or promoting alternative fuel vehicles are also important to achieve European Union 2021 target.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-67715


  • fuel consumption
  • new cars
  • technology development


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