By Mary Kuhlman
Drivers are saving money at the pump, as U.S. fuel economy reaches an all-time high, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA reports that model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon.
That reflects a half-mile per gallon improvement over the previous year, and an increase of nearly five miles per gallon since 2004.
Will Toor, transportation program director at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, says the numbers show that automakers are working hard to achieve the federal government's fuel economy standards.
"Leading automakers, I think, really partnered with the administration and said, 'We can do this, and we're not going to fight it,' and instead are really focusing on a variety of improvements," Toor says.
The EPA credits the fuel economy improvements to automakers' using more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers and advanced transmissions.
The Obama administration has standards in place requiring that new vehicles average the equivalent of 54 miles per gallon by 2025.
Toor maintains getting better gas mileage will have a positive impact on reducing the emissions that cause climate change.
"Emissions from transportation account for about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," he stresses. "And the bulk of that is from personal vehicles."
The EPA projects that the increased fuel standards will double fuel economy by 2025, cut vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half and save Americans $1.7 trillion dollars at the gas pump.