The EPA has released its annual report on vehicle fuel efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency said in its annual findings that the estimated average fuel economy for 2005 model year vehicles was 21 miles per gallon, a fleet-wide average that increased 0.2 mpg from the previous year.

It was 5 percent below the peak of 22.1 mpg in 1987, the EPA said. Since 1997, the fleet-wide average for U.S. automakers’ light-duty vehicles has remained fairly consistent, ranging between 20.6 mpg and 21 mpg.

Honda led the automakers with a fleet average of 25.1 mpg, followed by Toyota Motor Corp. with 23.5 mpg. Ford Motor Co. posted the lowest average at 19.5 mpg, but that represented an increase of 0.4 mpg over the previous model year.

Questions have been raised about the timing of the reports release.

Environmentalists pointed out that the report’s delay coincided with Congress’ final work on an energy bill that does little to boost fuel economy. Becker said it “would be hard to imagine” that the bill did not play a role in the delay.

EPA spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said the report was held “so that we could ensure that the public received the most comprehensive and understandable summary of information possible on fuel economy.”

Associated Press: Agency: Honda Posts Highest Fuel Economy

We are addicted to oil. We need to kick the habit. Most everyone agrees that ‘we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.’ Wouldn’t it make sense to actually do something about it? Why would the energy bill not require better automobile fuel efficiency? It just doesn’t make any sense, (does it?)

Meanwhile, in other news: Back-to-back refinery fires in the United States send crude prices above $60
and: Exxon Mobil 2Q Profit Up on Oil Prices
or: Oil giants show hefty earnings

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