Franklin-based Nissan North America has improved fuel efficiency more than any other automaker in the U.S., according to an annual report from the Environmental Protection Agency. Nissan’s entire product line hit 26.2 miles per gallon, up 2.1 mpg compared to the prior model year.
Nissan has been very intentional about stepping up efficiency, according to company officials. The Smyrna-made Pathfinder made the biggest year-over-year gains, increasing miles per gallon by 30 percent. The Altima sedan – also built in Smyrna – has improved its efficiency by 15 percent.
“Achieving good fuel economy is not a miracle,” says Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning. “You need to work on weight reduction, aerodynamic and frictions [and] powertrain.”
The EPA report does not yet consider electric cars like Nissan’s Leaf, which would conceivably improve the automaker’s ranking even more.
Nissan still doesn’t have the best fuel economy on the road, though the company does consider itself at the top of the list compared to other automakers that offer a full line — from compact cars to full size trucks.
Mazda remains on top, followed by Honda, Subaru and then Nissan. Across the industry, efficiency improved by roughly half a mile per gallon to an all-time high of 24.1 mpg.
“Today’s announcement points to the greatness of American ingenuity and the strength of our auto industry,” says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are thrilled to see that manufacturers continue to innovate and are bringing technologies to improve fuel economy online even faster than anticipated.”
The Obama administration has set a goal of doubling fuel economy by 2025.