The U.S. auto industry has cut fossil-fuel use 12% and reduced greenhouse gases by more than 700,000 tons (635,000 t) of carbon dioxide through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s Energy Star program.
A report by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University says the reductions equal the emissions generated in producing the electricity used by more than 80,000 households for a year.
The report also shows the gap between the top-performing vehicle assembly plants and other lower-performing factories has narrowed, as the industry as a whole has improved, the EPA says in a statement.
The auto industry is the first sector covered by the EPAâ€™s Energy Performance Indicator (EPI), which allows the industry to benchmark plant-energy performance against peers and over time.
The first EPI was developed for vehicle-assembly facilities using data from 2000 and was updated a second time with 2005 as the base year.
The EPI estimates the energy use of â€śbest-in-classâ€ť plants and the range of performance across the industry.
â€śWe find that electricity use per vehicle in the best plants improved by 2%, while the fuel use per vehicle improved a dramatic 12%,â€ť the report says. â€śThese changes resulted in a reduction of 696 million lbs. (316 million kg) of CO2 emissions at the plants used for this study.
â€śThe range of performance in fuel use has also narrowed over time, implying that other plants have been catching up to the best-in-class. This (has contributed) a reduction of another 766 million lbs. (347 million kg) of CO2, for a total reduction of nearly 1.5 billion lbs. (680 million kg)â€ť
EPI tools are available or under development for more than 20 other industries, and the list is growing.