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Energy Intensity of Passenger Cars, Other 2-Axle 4-Tire Vehicles, and Motorcycles

Notes: 

Data for 2007-15 were calculated using a new methodology developed by FHWA. Data for these years are based on new categories and are not comparable to previous years. The new category Light duty vehicle, short wheel base includes passenger cars, light trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles with a wheelbase (WB) equal to or less than 121 inches. The new category Light duty vehicle, long wheel base includes large passenger cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport/utility vehicles with wheelbases (WB) larger than 121 inches. 

In 1995, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration revised its vehicle type categories for 1993 and later data. These new categories include passenger car, other 2-axle 4-tire vehicle, single-unit 2-axle 6-tire or more truck, and combination truck. Other 2-axle 4-tire vehicle includes vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles.  In previous years, some minivans and sport utility vehicles were included in the passenger car category.  Single-unit 2-axle 6-tire or more trucks are on a single frame with at least 2 axles and 6 tires.  Pre-1993 data have been reassigned to the closest available category.

For 1970-94, the unrevised motorcycle fuel consumed is subtracted from the combined passenger car and motorcycle fuel consumed from VM-201A.

Vehicle-miles and Passenger-miles data for 1960 through 1999 have been rounded to the nearest billion miles.

Description: 

KEY: Btu = British thermal unit; N = data do not exist; U = data are not available.

a Motorcycle was included in Light duty vehicle, short wheel base (previously Passenger car) in 1960 and 1965.

b 1960-99 data are for Passenger car and Other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles, respectively. The data from 1960-2006 are not comparable to the data from 2007-15.

c Energy Intensity (Btu/passenger-mile) is calculated by converting the fuel consumption in gallons to the energy equivalent Btu units and dividing by the passenger-miles. The heat equivalent factor used for Btu conversion is 125,000 Btus/gallon.

Source: 

Vehicle-miles:

Passenger car:

1960-94: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics Summary to 1995, table VM-201A, available at as of Oct. 6, 2011. 

1995-2006: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Oct. 6, 2011.

Light duty vehicle, short wheel base:

2007-2015: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Mar. 28, 2017.

Other 2-axle 4-tire vehicle:

1970-94: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics Summary to 1995, table VM-201A, available at as of Oct. 6, 2011. 

1995-2006: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Oct. 6, 2011.

Light duty vehicle, long wheel base:

2007-2015: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Mar. 28, 2017.

Motorcycle:

1970-94: Ibid., Highway Statistics, Summary to 1985 (Washington, DC: 1986), table VM-201A.

For 1970-94, the unrevised motorcycle vehicle-miles are subtracted from the combined passenger car and motorcycle vehicle-miles from VM-201A.

1995-2015: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Mar. 28, 2017.

Passenger-miles: 

1960-97:  Vehicle-miles multiplied by vehicle occupancy rates.

1998-2015:  Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC:  Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Mar. 28, 2017.

Fuel consumed:

1960-94: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics Summary to 1995, FHWA-PL-97-009 (Washington, DC: July 1997), table VM-201A.

1995-2015: Ibid., Highway Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table VM-1, available at as of Mar. 28, 2017.

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