The Emergence of Light Trucks: Impact on Light Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy 860365
The largest sales year for passenger cars and light trucks in the last eight years was. 1985. The light truck share of the light duty vehicle market increased from 21.0 percent in 1978 to 27.9 percent in 1985. Light trucks, on average, are less efficient than passenger cars. As light trucks enlarged their share in an expanded market, the impact on overall fuel economy increases has been dampened. Several explanations have been given for the increased consumer purchases of light trucks: low cost for many models, the availability of 4-wheel drive, temporary import limits on Japanese auto imports and increased nameplate offerings.
The light duty vehicle fuel economy gain of 5.7 MPG between 1978 and 1985 would have been 8.8 percent higher if there had not been any shift in share toward light trucks during that period.