- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that the American auto fleet boasted better fuel economy than ever last year, but the rate of progress is far behind what’s needed to meet President Obama’s ambitious 2025 goal.

Agency officials announced that vehicles sold in the U.S. last year averaged 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg), the highest figure in the history of the auto industry and one that increased by 0.5 mpg over the previous year.

But the agency’s preliminary 2014 data — which officials stressed is not yet final — show an increase to just 24.2 mpg. The improvement rate must pick up dramatically if the EPA is to meet its long-term goals.

The administration is requiring automakers’ fleets to average 54.5 mpg by 2025.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Wednesday she’s confident that lofty threshold is within reach.

“As the industry has always done, we’re going to be making steady progress in every model and we’re going to have big leaps in technology moving forward,” she told reporters on a conference call. “This is exactly what we projected to happen. We went out to 2025 because we knew there would be a need for time before some of those innovative solutions that are game-changers could be brought to the table.”

EPA’s report found that Mazda vehicles now have the highest fuel economy of any auto line at 28.1 mpg. Chrysler was the lowest of the companies included in the EPA data, at 20.9 mpg.

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