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In fits and starts over the past three decades, most of the world's major vehicle markets—the United States, the European Union, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, South Korea—have adopted various forms of efficiency standards for passenger vehicles. In some cases standards began as voluntary guidelines; all but Australia’s are now mandatory. More countries are poised to follow the same path: Mexico has proposed fuel efficiency standards that would align it with the rest of North America, and India, Indonesia, and Thailand are drawing up regulations.
In 2004, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change published a groundbreaking report on GHG emission standards and passenger vehicle fuel economy that proposed a methodology for directly comparing vehicle standards defined in terms of grams of CO2 per kilometer (as in the EU) and miles per gallon (as in the U.S.). In 2007 the ICCT released a significant update to that original Pew report, refining the method of converting standards so as to compare them on an equal basis and including important changes in vehicle standards in the pattern-setting jurisdictions of Europe, Japan, and the U.S.
Since then, the increasingly urgent need for effective policies on climate change mitigation and energy efficiency has only underscored the importance of accessible and reliable benchmarking across jurisdictions. A presentation comparing the various national standards using the most current regulations or proposals can be downloaded using the links below, along with the dataset and test-cycle conversion tool used to generate those apples-to-apples comparisons. The slidecast below adds some detail and briefly explains the methodology behind the comparisons.