Market Snapshot: How does Canada rank in terms of vehicle fuel economy?

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Release date: 2019-07-31

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a study on energy efficiency in the transportation sector.Footnote 1 The report reviews and ranks market characteristics related to average vehicle size, power, and fuel consumption between countries.

In 2017, Canada‘s average vehicle ranked last in fuel efficiency, consuming an average of 8.9 litres of gasoline per 100 kilometres (L/100km).Footnote 2 In comparison, fuel consumption averaged 8.6 L/100km in the United States, 5.9 L/100km in Germany, and 4.9 L/100km in Portugal. Because carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are directly related to fuel efficiency, Canada also ranks last for CO2 emissions per km driven.

The figure below ranks countries based on their CO2 emissions, weight, power, and fuel consumption.

Figure 1: Average personal vehicle characteristics, by country (2017)

Source and Description

Source: International Energy Agency

Description: The bar graph ranks countries based on their average car’s CO2 emissions, weight, engine displacementFootnote 3, and fuel consumption. Canada’s cars are, on average, the least fuel efficient and most CO2 intensive. They also have the highest power and rank second in terms of weight, behind the United States.

The fuel economy of Canada’s vehicle fleet may be higher due to factors like consumer preferences, climate, urban design, and demographics. In the mid-2000s, cars and trucks each made up around 50% of new personal vehicle sales. In 2017, around 70% of newly registered vehicles in Canada were trucks. Another reason is the price of fuel, which is lower in Canada than in most countries.

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