Transportation is one of several major sectors that contribute to climate change. Globally, the sector's 25% share of man-made carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions is similar to its share of energy consumption. Because liquid fuels are so well suited for powering cars, trucks, boats and aircraft, transportation is uniquely reliant on oil, which is the natural resource most well suited for producing liquid fuels.
This National Research Council (NRC) report assesses the potential to achieve twin goals of reducing petroleum use and cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from U.S. cars and light trucks to 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2050.
ABSTRACT. Improving the fuel efficiency of automobiles (cars and light trucks) is an important means of addressing transportation oil demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This report examines the efficiency attainable through evolutionary changes in U.S. automobiles that have fueling characteristics as well as performance, size and other attributes similar to those of today. The analysis combines results from previous engineering studies of powertrain efficiency and load reduction with new examinations of rates of technology change and cost reduction.
With the backing of 13 car companies, the United Auto Workers and other parties, the Obama Administration announced the biggest step forward on auto efficiency in over a generation. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations just finalized target the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025, double the efficiency of this year's vehicle fleet.
Building on the Bush Administration's 2007 proposal to raise automotive fuel economy by up to four percent per year, the Obama Administration is now considering regulations that might target a doubling of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by 2025. But just how much can the efficiency of cars and light trucks be improved, and at what cost?
The climate benefits of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have been debated for many years. Attempts to compare these fuels with one another and fossil-derived fuels such as gasoline and diesel confront many uncertainties, not all of which can be resolved through further data analysis. By scrutinizing the greatest sources of uncertainty and grounding analysis in the areas of high certainty such as combustion chemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle, this paper sheds light on this challenging subject and points the way toward new strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels.
Autonomous "robot" vehicles that can drive themselves hold great promise for transforming transportation systems across the world. Part of their appeal is the potential to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Not so fast, notes Bradley Berman in a critical piece on ReadWriteDrive, where he quotes Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco's admonition that technology "doesn't save us from ourselves."
More and more plug-in electric vehicles are hitting the roads each year, but is the technology really close to a tipping point for mass-market growth? In this analysis piece for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco argues that the real turning point for EVs will come only after transportation systems are automated for driverless operation. Read the article here at Automotive Engineering International Online.
Carrie Morton, a member of the Energy Institute team since 2011, is leaving the Institute to join the University’s new Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) as Managing Director. The MTC is a public/private R&D partnership formed to develop the foundations of a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles that will dramatically improve transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility. The Energy Institute is a partner supporter of the MTC.