Pumping it up: MPG of US cars getting better

1.4 miles a gallon.

That's how much the mileage of U.S. vehicles has increased in in 2012.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has just released its annual report on fuel efficiency, and it estimates that between 2007 and 2012 fuel economy increased by 16 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 13 percent.

Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, credits her boss, naturally. “The historic steps taken by the Obama administration to improve fuel economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil are accelerating this progress, will spur economic growth and will create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.”

One might also credit the American car-buyer, who I'm betting is more savvy, more informed and more interested than ever in buying a vehicle that gets good gas mileage.

But Obama is certainly moving things forward. The National Clean Car Program would double fuel economy standards by 2025.  Other benefits highlighted by the EPA: "The standards will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 will result in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 per vehicle. The program will also save 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 will reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day."

Today, consumers have twice as many hybrid and diesel vehicle choices, than they did five years ago, the agency noted. Plus, there's an increasing number of plug-in electric vehicle options.  The number of car models with combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or higher is six times higher now than it was five years ago.