White House Energy Blueprint Highlights Carbon Emission Reductions, Fuel Economy Gains, The White House (March 15, 2013). This fact sheet, President Obama’s Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future, describes the Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce dependency on foreign oil while also decreasing carbon emissions. To achieve new breakthroughs, the White House urges Congress to establish an Energy Security Trust, which will fund research into technologies that increase fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions. The blueprint points to a new Environmental Protection Agency report, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends:1975 Through 2012 detailing the benefits of the Administration’s “historic fuel economy standards” that have reduced climate-altering carbon pollution.
DOE Announces EV Everywhere Blueprint, New Initiative to Expand Workplace Charging, U.S. Department of Energy (Jan. 31, 2013). DOE has released a document that outlines its technical and deployment goals for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) over the next five years as part of the administration’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. The initiative, launched in March 2012, is intended to make PEVs as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles for American families by 2022. The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint sets technical targets in the areas of battery and electric drive system research and development, vehicle weight reduction, and advanced climate control technologies and describes deployment programs related to charging infrastructure and consumer education. The agency also announced that 13 major employers have joined a new Workplace Charging Challenge to expand the availability of PEV charging infrastructure in the workplace.
Workshop to Address Use of Connected Vehicle Technology to Reduce Emissions, Fuel Consumption, U.S. Department of Transportation (Jan. 28, 2013). USDOT has announced a workshop on March 26-27, 2013, to discuss research on the use of connected vehicle technologies to reduce transportation-related emissions and fuel consumption as part of the Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) program. The workshop also will solicit input from stakeholders on three Transformative Concepts developed under AERIS for deploying connected vehicle technologies: Eco-Signal Operations, Dynamic Low Emissions Zones, and Dynamic Eco-Lanes. The workshop will focus on draft Concepts of Operations (ConOps) and Analysis Plans for modeling the AERIS Transformative Concepts. Portions of the workshop will also be available via webcast. Additional information is available on the AERIS Program website.
FHWA Research Demonstrates Potential for ‘Intelligent Intersections’ to Reduce Fuel Consumption, Emissions, Federal Highway Administration (Dec. 5, 2012). FHWA’s Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center has posted highlights of research on the use of intelligent infrastructure and connected vehicle technologies to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions through more efficient approaches to signalized traffic intersections. The research tested an ‘intelligent intersection’ device that provides the driver of a connected vehicle with advice on a safe approach and exit speed to help reduce stop-and-go situations, and thereby reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Energy Department Releases Web Tool to Reduce Fleet Petroleum Use, GHG Emissions, U.S. Department of Energy (Nov. 28, 2012). DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed an online tool designed to help fleet managers choose from a range of methods for reducing their fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and operating costs. The Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool allows fleet managers to evaluate the benefits associated with five alternative fuels and several efficiency measures, including idle reduction and fuel economy improvements. The new tool also allows fleet managers to evaluate different fleet improvement options and create a comprehensive plan using several fuel saving methods. The new tool is part of NREL’s redesigned Alternative Fuels Data Center website.
Energy Department Announces New Funding to Support Alternative Fueled Vehicles, U.S. Department of Energy (Nov. 19, 2012). DOE has awarded nearly $11 million for 20 new projects as part of its Clean Cities initiative to help state and local governments promote alternative fueled vehicles. The projects will support community infrastructure and training needs, streamline permitting and procurement processes, and help fleet managers integrate petroleum reduction strategies. An example of the 2012 Clean Cities projects is an award of $500,000 to Austin, Texas to help streamline infrastructure procurement, conduct safety training for electric and natural gas vehicles, host workshops for fleet users, and organize training on electric vehicle charging.
EPA/NHTSA Final Rule on Fuel Efficiency, GHG Emissions for Vehicles Standards, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Aug. 28, 2012). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have finalized revisions to the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. The rule increases fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025 and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. The CAFE standards were last revised in 2010.
DOE Announces $30 Million for Projects that Advance Use of Natural Gas in Vehicles, Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) (July 12, 2012). The Department of Energy has announced $30 million in funding for research projects that advance the use of natural gas as fuel for cars and trucks. The funding is provided through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) under a new program titled Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE). The program aims to engineer light-weight, affordable natural gas tanks for vehicles and to develop natural gas compressors that can efficiently fuel a natural gas vehicle at home. Selected projects are located in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
How Would Proposed Fuel Economy Standards Affect the Highway Trust Fund?, Congressional Budget Office (May 8, 2012). This report finds that the increase in the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards jointly proposed by EPA and the NHTSA will reduce the consumption of gasoline over the next few decades, further decreasing the amount of revenues applied to the Highway Trust Fund. The report suggests several options to address the pending trust fund deficit, including decreasing spending from the trust fund on transportation infrastructure, continuing the transfer of funds from the Treasury general funds to the trust fund, increasing the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon, or implementing a tax on vehicle miles traveled.
FTA Project Selections for National Fuel Cell Bus Program, Federal Transit Administration (April 2, 2012). FTA has awarded $13.1 million in grants under the National Fuel Cell Bus Program to support research on and demonstrations of fuel cell technology to power buses. The funding has been awarded to three consortia headed by CALSTART of Pasadena, Calif., the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, Ga., and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium in Boston, Mass. The projects will develop new technologies, conduct testing in real world situations, and provide public education and outreach.
Energy Department to Fund Research on Lightweight Vehicle Materials, U.S. Department of Energy (March 22, 2012). DOE will provide up to $14.2 million to fund research on the development and deployment of lightweight vehicle materials and components. The funding will support research on stronger and lighter carbon fiber composites and advanced metals intended to help manufacturers build cars and trucks with improved fuel economy while maintaining performance and safety.
President Obama Launches EV-Everywhere Challenge to Advance Electric Vehicle Research, U.S. Department of Energy (March 7, 2012). President Obama has announced the launch of the EV-Everywhere Challenge, an effort to make electric-powered vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles for the average American family within the next decade. The initiative is the second of the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Grand Challenges, which seek to bring together scientists, engineers, and businesses to collaborate on key energy technology challenges. The research specifically will pursue technological and cost improvements in batteries, electric motors, power electronics, reduction in vehicle weight, and fast charging technology.
Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011, Environmental Protection Agency (March 8, 2012). This annual report provides data on carbon dioxide emissions, fuel economy, and technology usage of light-duty vehicles sold in the United States. The report finds that model year 2010 vehicles achieved an average fuel economy of 22.6 miles per gallon and emitted an average of 394 grams of CO2 per mile. According to the report, GHG emissions were the lowest on record, decreasing by 3 grams per mile compared with model year 2009 vehicles. Also, corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) for MY 2010 vehicles improved by 0.2 mpg over the previous year, the best performance EPA has reported.
EPA Issues Direct Final Rule Approving New Feedstocks, Processes for Renewable Fuels, Environmental Protection Agency (Jan. 5, 2012). EPA has published a direct final rule finding that fuels derived from camelina oil, energy cane, giant reed, and napiergrass meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the federal renewable fuel program. The rule also approves several new processes for producing cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, and advanced biofuels and allows fuel producers to generate Renewable Identification Numbers for fuels produced using these feedstocks and processes. The direct final rule is effective March 5, 2012, and EPA is accepting comments through Feb. 6, 2012. Additional information is available on EPA’s renewable fuels website.
EPA Finalizes Renewable Fuel Standards for 2012, Environmental Protection Agency (Dec. 27, 2011). EPA has issued a final rule that increases the total amount of renewable fuel required in the nation's motor fuel supply in 2012 from 2011 standards. For 2012, the agency is requiring 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels, or 9.23 percent of all fuel used in the United Sates, and up from 13.95 billion gallons in 2011. The final rule establishes volume standards for biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuels, and cellulosic biofuels for 2012. EPA has postponed finalizing biomass-based diesel requirements for 2013. Additional information is available on EPA’s renewable fuels website.
Energy Department Funds Research on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies for Electric Vehicles, U.S. Department of Energy (Dec. 12, 2011). DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has awarded $7 million to four research projects aimed at developing advanced hydrogen storage technologies that can be deployed in fuel cell electric vehicles. DOE says the projects are focused on lowering the cost of compressed hydrogen storage systems and developing advanced materials for hydrogen storage. Additional information is available on DOE’s Hydrogen & Fuel Cells website.
EPA-NHTSA Propose Light-Duty Fuel Economy, GHG Standards for 2017-2025, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Nov. 16, 2011). The Obama administration has issued a proposed rule that would increase the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles for model years 2017 through 2025. The proposal would require automobile manufacturers to achieve an average fleet fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 for passenger cars and light trucks and includes a carbon dioxide emissions limit of 163 grams per mile by 2025, the equivalent of 54.5 mpg. A separate standard for light trucks would require an average fuel economy of 40.3 mpg by 2025. Together the car and truck requirements would result in a combined fleet-wide average of 49.6 mpg by 2025.
2012 Fuel Economy Guide Released, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency (Nov. 16, 2011). DOE and EPA have announced the availability of the annual fuel economy guide for consumer vehicles, including data on hybrid and electric vehicles and lists of the most and least efficient vehicles. Certain 2012 models also will feature a new label displaying more comprehensive fuel efficiency information and greenhouse gas and smog ratings. The new label is required in 2013 but can be voluntarily adopted by automakers for the 2012 model year.
Energy Department Launches Vehicle Cost Calculator, U.S. Department of Energy (Oct. 26, 2011). DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed a new online tool for comparing the carbon dioxide emissions and lifetime operating costs of specific vehicle models. The Vehicle Cost Calculator allows users to compare the operating costs of model year 1996 and later conventional cars and trucks, as well as vehicles running on alternative fuels such as electricity, ethanol, natural gas, or biodiesel.
Energy Department Funds Projects to Increase Efficiency of Motor Vehicle Engines and Powertrains, U.S. Department of Energy (Sept. 27, 2011). DOE has announced the award of $8.4 million to motor vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies that improve the efficiency of engines and powertrain systems of highway vehicles. The awards will fund four projects in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin that are focused on developing and testing technologies that can significantly improve fuel economy of passenger and commercial vehicles while meeting new federal emission standards.
Obama Administration Seeks to Expand Market for Advanced Biofuels, Department of the Air Force (Aug. 29, 2011). On March 30, 2011, President Obama directed the Department of the Navy, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work with private industry to create advanced drop-in biofuels, which will power both the Department of Defense and private sector transportation. This request for information, issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory, seeks information about capabilities and markets related to advanced "drop-in" hydrocarbon biofuels production. The request specifies that aviation and marine diesel biofuels are of interest. Biofuels are considered "drop-in" if they can be used in existing engines without modification. To be compliant with statutory standards, the biofuels must have lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions less than or equal to those of existing petroleum fuels.
Energy Department Launches Online Tools to Accelerate Plug-In Vehicle Adoption, U.S. Department of Energy (Aug. 22, 2011). DOE has announced the development of two new online tools to help communities better prepare for widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). The first tool is a template to help local governments design permits for residential EV charging installations. The second tool is a training video designed to help inspectors and electricians inspect and install the systems. According to DOE, the new tools are intended to encourage cities to develop standardized permitting and inspection procedures, help local officials streamline their processes, and provide more favorable conditions for EV businesses as more plug-in EVs enter the marketplace.
EPA-NHTSA Issue Final Greenhouse Gas, Fuel Economy Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Aug. 9, 2011). The Obama administration has issued a final rule that sets the first greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The rule, which is applicable to vehicles in model years 2014 through 2018, sets separate standards for large highway combination tractors that typically pull trailers; heavy-duty pickups and vans; "vocational" trucks, such as garbage, cement, and utility vehicles; and buses. The standards are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 270 million metric tons and save 530 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.
Obama Administration Proposes 54.5 MPG as Standard for Cars, Light Trucks by 2025, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (July 29, 2011). President Obama has announced an agreement with 13 major automobile manufacturers to increase the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025. The agreement, which builds on the previous standards set for MY 2012-2016 vehicles, would require automakers to increase the fuel economy of cars by 5 percent annually. Light-duty trucks would be allowed to increase fuel economy more slowly, by 3.5 percent per year through 2021 and then by 5 percent annually through 2025. According to an administration report, Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil, the new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles to 163 grams per mile of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025. EPA and NHTSA also issued a supplemental notice announcing development of a proposed rule for the MY 2017-2025 light-duty vehicle GHG emissions and CAFE standards.
EPA Issues Final Rule on Pump Labeling for Fuel Blends Containing Over 10 Percent Ethanol, Environmental Protection Agency (June 28, 2011). EPA has issued a final rule requiring gasoline sellers to clearly label pumps containing fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol content. The labels are intended to indicate which pumps offer the E15 blend (15 percent ethanol) and to warn customers about which vehicles are considered incompatible with E15, including older cars and light trucks, motorcycles, watercraft, and other equipment that uses gasoline such as lawn mowers and chain saws. The rule also prohibits the use of blends above 10 percent ethanol in vehicles, engines, or equipment incompatible with higher blends.
EPA Proposes Renewable Fuel Standards for 2012, Environmental Protection Agency (June 21, 2011). EPA has released a proposed rule that increases the total amount of renewable fuel required in the nation's motor fuel supply in 2012 from 2011 standards. For 2012, the agency is proposing 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuel, about 9.2 percent of all fuel used in the United Sates, and up from 13.95 billion gallons in 2011. The rule includes proposed 2012 levels for advanced biofuels, cellulosic ethanol, and biomass-based diesel and proposes a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. EPA has proposed a lower target for cellulosic biofuel for 2012 than required by the Energy Independence and Security Act, which requires 500 million gallons for 2012. Comments are due Aug. 11, 2011.
EPA, NHTSA Announce New Fuel Economy Labels, (May 25, 2011). The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced new fuel economy labels for cars and light-duty trucks beginning with the 2012 model year. The new labels, which will be voluntary for 2012 model year vehicles and required beginning with model year 2013 vehicles, include information on the amount of fuel or electricity needed to drive 100 miles, estimates of annual fuel costs, and data on emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone precursors. The labels also provide a five-year comparison of fuel costs based on the average fuel economy being achieved by the national fleet of vehicles. For hybrid and electric vehicles, the labels also provide an equivalent to the miles-per-gallon rating, include information on the distance they can travel on a full battery, and specify battery charging times.
15 Percent Ethanol Gasoline Blends Approved, Environmental Protection Agency (Oct. 13, 2010). EPA has granted a waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. After reviewing vehicle testing data from the Department of Energy, EPA determined that E15 blends do not harm emissions control equipment on these newer vehicles. The agency also denied a request for a CAA waiver for E15 for 2000 model year and older vehicles and for motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, and nonroad engines. The agency will decide on a waiver for 2001-2006 model year cars after it receives further vehicle testing data from DOE. EPA also announced a proposed rule containing labeling requirements for E15 pumps and will propose that fuel suppliers specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. For more information, including the proposed E15 labeling requirements, link to EPA's E15 webpage.
Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report Series, Department of Energy. This series of quarterly newsletters produced by the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program summarizes the prices of alternative fuels and conventional fuels in the United States. The pricing data is collected by Clean Cities Coordinators, fuel providers, and other Clean Cities stakeholders.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Value Proposition Study, Department of Energy (July 2010). This report released by DOE's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center identifies and evaluates value-added propositions for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that might help overcome the higher purchase cost compared to internal combustion engine and hybrid electric vehicles. The report also assesses other nonmonetary benefits and barriers related to an emerging PHEV fleet, including environmental, societal, and electric grid impacts.
Diesel Power: Clean Vehicles for Tomorrow, Department of Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program (July 2010). This report covers the history of the diesel engine, its current uses in transportation vehicles, and the challenges it faces relative to increasing efficiency while meeting new emission standards at a competitive cost. The report also examines technological advancements to the diesel combustion process, emissions aftertreatment systems, and diesel fuels and their environmental benefits and underscores the importance of diesel research and development.
Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Overview and Issues, Congressional Research Service (July 2010). This report focuses on the RFS mandate that a minimum volume of biofuels is to be used in the national transportation fuel supply annually and implementation of the mandate. The report also covers emerging issues related to the sustainability of the continued growth in U.S. biofuels production necessary to fulfill the expanding RFS mandate and examines the emergence of potential unintended consequences of this expansion.
Challenges of Building a Hydrogen Infrastructure: A Report to Congress, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (July 2010). This report offers an overview of the infrastructure challenges of a transition to a hydrogen fueled transportation system and the federal efforts necessary to mitigate and eliminate them. The report provides a synthesis of recent work by federal agencies and other stakeholders. The report also examines the context of why hydrogen is important to transportation's transition from fossil fuels and to the nation's climate change mitigation efforts, major challenge areas this transition presents, federal progress made to date, studies that form the basis of strategic thinking on the topic, and key areas for future action.
Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: A Foundation for Electrified Transportation, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (April 2010). This report explores the components of plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure, as well as challenges and opportunities related to the design and deployment of the infrastructure, and the potential benefits.
Renewable Fuel Standard Program, Final Rule, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (March 26, 2010). EPA finalizes changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard program, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United State contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The new renewable fuel standards increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
Joint Rulemaking to Establish CAFE and GHG Emissions Standards for MY 2012-2016, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency (March 2009). This joint rulemaking establishes auto fuel economy standards and GHG emission standards for light duty vehicles. NHTSA estimates that the Model Year (MY) 2011 standards will raise the industry-wide combined average to 27.3 mpg, save 887 million gallons of fuel over the lifetime of the MY 2011 cars and light trucks, and reduce CO2 emissions by 8.3 million metric tons during that period.
Assessment of the Greenhouse Gas Emission Benefits of Heavy Duty Natural Gas Vehicles in the United States, U.S. DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting (September 2005). This paper presents a review of existing literature on emission factors, emission data collection techniques, and analytic approaches; presents the results of SAIC's analysis of available CO2 and CH4 GHG emission data from chassis dynamometer tests of heavy-duty vehicle exhaust; and provides suggestions for further reducing this uncertainty. The research focused on emissions data from diesel-, LNG-, and CNG-fueled heavy-duty vehicles.
Fuel Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles, U.S. DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting (September 2003). This report assesses the potential of gasoline substitutes to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by automobiles and light-duty trucks. Reductions in future GHG emissions are estimated under specific assumptions about growth in light-duty vehicle travel and the replacement of gasoline by various other fuels, both in the near term (10 years) and over the longer term (25 years).
Biodiesel Basics, U.S. Department of Energy (February 2011). This fact sheet of DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program provides answers to commonly asked questions about biodiesel, such as where to locate biodiesel fuel, how biodiesel affects engines and components, and how biodiesel performs compared to regular diesel fuel.
EPA, Chrysler Announce Partnership to Adapt Hydraulic Hybrid Technology to Passenger Vehicles, Environmental Protection Agency (Jan. 19, 2011). EPA and Chrysler Group LLC have announced an agreement to develop hydraulic hybrid drive technology for passenger vehicles that would increase fuel efficiency by an anticipated 30 percent to 35 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. The partnership will adapt EPA's patented hydraulic hybrid technology, developed by its National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory and currently in use in large delivery and refuse trucks, to a hybrid Chrysler minivan.
Effects of Increased Biofuels on the U.S. Economy in 2022, U.S. Department of Agriculture (October 2010). This report examines how meeting requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2) would affect various key components of the U.S. economy. RFS-2 provides that the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel will gradually increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act. The report finds that if biofuel production technology advances and petroleum prices continue to rise as projected, the RFS-2 could benefit the U.S. economy.
EPA-NHTSA Issue Supplemental Notice of Intent to Develop Stringent GHG, Fuel Economy Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Nov. 30, 2010). With this notice EPA-NHTSA have announced they need more analysis before narrowing the options they will consider in proposing more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model-year 2017-2025 cars and light trucks. The notice supplements an initial notice of intent announced Oct. 1 that outlined their plans to issue "stringent" emissions and fuel economy standards for MY2017-2025 light-duty vehicles. The agencies said they are continuing to work with the California Air Resources Board to conduct technical assessments of the advanced gasoline, diesel, and hybrid vehicle technology; the safety impact of vehicle mass reduction; and other areas.
2011 Renewable Fuel Standards Finalized, Environmental Protection Agency (Nov. 29, 2010). EPA has issued a final rule that sets the 2011 volume requirements and associated percentage standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2). The program provides for the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel will gradually increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022, as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). The final rule specifies the volume and standards for the four fuel categories under the RFS2 program for calendar year 2011: cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and renewable fuels. The rule includes a lower target for cellulosic biofuel than required by EISA; according to EPA the market for cellulosic biofuel is not producing enough ethanol to meet the legal requirement.
Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2010, Environmental Protection Agency (November 2010). This annual report provides data on carbon dioxide emissions, fuel economy, and technology usage of light-duty vehicles sold in the United States. According to the latest report, cars and light-duty trucks for the model year 2009 had lower average CO2 emissions and higher fuel efficiency than in 2008, continuing a six-year trend. The report also finds that average CO2 emissions for model year 2009 vehicles were the lowest on record, even when adjusted for real-world driving conditions.
Northeast Electric Vehicle Network Documents, Transportation and Climate Initiative (Dec. 14, 2012). These documents produced by the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network provide information on electric vehicles for consumers, utilities, local government planners, and other stakeholders. Also included are planning, guidance, and analysis documents, including EV siting and design guidelines and building codes.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle Deployment In The Northeast: A Market Overview And Literature Review, Georgetown Climate Center (Aug. 7, 2012). This report presents an analysis of opportunities and challenges for deployment of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the Northeast region. The report was prepared by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, the Georgetown Climate Center, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The report includes four sections: a technology overview, a markets overview, benefits to PEV deployment, and barriers and options to PEVs in gaining wide market acceptance. Barriers discussed include vehicle appeal, problems in obtaining and financing charging infrastructure, and potential impacts on the electric grid and transportation funding.
New York State Installing New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, New York State Governor’s Office (June 6, 2012). Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the awarding of $4.4 million to private companies and municipalities for projects to deploy 325 electric vehicle charging stations across the state. The charging stations are being supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, including a $1 million grant from DOE in 2011 on behalf of the Transportation and Climate Initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. The initiative seeks to accelerate the development of electric vehicle infrastructure in the region.
New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open on Washington Highways, Washington State Department of Transportation (May 30, 2012). WSDOT has announced the opening of 10 new public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 2 that will allow EV drivers to travel from Seattle to the Canadian border. The new stations, which feature technology that can deliver a full charge in less than 30 minutes, have been installed at rest stops and other locations convenient to shopping and entertainment. The charging stations are part of the planned West Coast Electric Highway, a transportation corridor connecting California, Oregon, and Washington that fully supports electric vehicles.
Washington State DOT Tests Propane Fleet Vehicle Retrofits, Washington State Department of Transportation (March 5, 2012). A pilot project by WSDOT’s Southwest Region to retrofit 31 fleet vehicles to run on both propane and gasoline is saving the department on fuel and maintenance costs, according to a release. Propane fuel is cheaper than gasoline and burns cleaner, resulting in lower maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Each retrofitted vehicle is expected to reduce the department’s emissions by approximately 1 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent annually.
First Electric Vehicle Charging Station Opens at a North Carolina Rest Area, North Carolina Department of Transportation (Jan. 11, 2012). NCDOT has announced the formal opening of the first electric vehicle charging station at a state highway rest stop on I-40/I-85 near Burlington. The free charging station, which is capable of fully charging a vehicle in 6-7 hours, is one of 20 being installed around the state through a grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Northeast Electric Vehicle Network Announced, Georgetown Climate Center (Oct. 19, 2011). Officials from transportation, environment, and energy agencies in 10 northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia have announced an agreement to form a Northeast Electric Vehicle Network to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations and related infrastructure throughout the region. The network is the latest project of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, which was announced by the participating jurisdictions in June 2010 to promote clean fuels and vehicles and infrastructure development. Development of the regional electric vehicle network will be supported in part by a $1 million Electric Vehicle Readiness Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Oregon DOT Selects Vendor for Electric Vehicle Charging Station Project, Oregon Department of Transportation (Aug. 18, 2011). The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced the selection of a vendor to install and operate 22 charging stations for electric vehicles to be located in major transportation corridors in northwest Oregon. The vendor, AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., will supply, install, operate, and maintain the stations using funding from a $2 million TIGER II grant from U.S. DOT. The Oregon project is part of the West Coast Green Highway initiative, a partnership between the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and the province of British Columbia to advance the adoption and use of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles along the Interstate 5 corridor.
State Electric Vehicle Incentives, National Conference of State Legislatures (May 2011). This webpage features a table highlighting incentives that 27 states and the District of Columbia currently offer to promote electric vehicles to individuals. Incentives include high-occupancy vehicle lane exemptions for electric vehicles, tax exemptions or credits and registration fee reductions, emission test exemptions, and parking incentives. According to NCLS, legislation is pending in another 13 states related to incentives for electric vehicles.
California State Alternative Fuels Plan, California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board (October 2007). The California State Alternative Fuels Plan presents strategies and actions California must take to increase the use of alternative non-petroleum fuels in a manner that minimizes costs to the state and maximizes the economic benefits of in-state production. The plan assessed various alternative fuels and developed fuel portfolios to meet California's goals to reduce petroleum consumption, increase alternative fuels use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase in-state production of biofuels, without causing a significant degradation of public health and environmental quality. The key circumstances and conditions necessary to achieve the plan outcomes are presented for each fuel based on plan assumptions and analysis. The plan describes a 2050 Vision that extends the plan outcomes beyond the milestone years of 2012, 2017, and 2022 and lays a foundation for building a multi-fuel transportation energy future for California.
The Role of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Protecting Our Economy, Office of the Governor, California (2007). This White Paper discusses the expected benefits of an Executive Order that would establish a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation fuels sold in California, and an initial LCFS goal of reducing the carbon intensity of California's passenger vehicle fuels by at least 10 percent by 2020.
Policy Brief: Electric Cars: Ready for prime time?, International Transport Forum (June 2012). The International Transport Forum has issued a policy brief on the need for government subsidies—or “primes”—to encourage the development of electric vehicle purchases and use. The brief says that electric vehicles are more expensive to their owners than a fossil-fuel vehicle of similar make and size. The brief also says that the cost savings from avoided carbon dioxide emissions from electric vehicle use is significantly less than the additional cost of producing the vehicle and its battery and that gains in fuel efficiency for gasoline vehicles will be cheaper than gains in electric efficiency. In addition, the brief says that electric vehicle use makes economic sense for certain vehicle operators even without subsidies, including large corporate vehicle fleets, urban delivery vehicles, and taxis. The brief is a summary of a larger report, Electric Vehicles Revisited – Costs, Subsidies and Prospects.
Global Fuel Economy Initiative Plan of Action 2012-2015, Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) (April 2012). This document describes the initiative’s plans to promote fuel economy of vehicles worldwide over the next three years, including policy support to countries, outreach, and research and analysis. GFEI is a partnership between the FIA Foundation, the International Energy Agency, the International Transport Forum, the U.N. Environmental Programme, and the International Council on Clean Transportation that seeks to improve vehicle fuel economy worldwide, including a target of a 50 percent improvement in the average fuel economy of all light-duty vehicles on the road in 2050, compared to a 2005 baseline.
Fleet Management Commitment to Fuel Efficiency, New Zealand Transport Agency (April 2012). This report examines ways to overcome barriers faced by managers of New Zealand’s light and heavy vehicle fleets in attempting to implement fuel efficiency as part of their normal way of doing business. The report provides a model for adoption of evidence-based practice to improve fuel efficiency and safety based on successful practices by case study fleets both in New Zealand and internationally. The report also recommends initiatives for government and industry associations to assist fleets with saving fuel, improving productivity, improving safety and reducing emissions, including raising awareness, using incentives, and providing advice and training.
“The Vehicle of the Future: Greener, Safer, Smarter” Session, AASHTO 2011 Annual Meeting, Oct. 16, 2011
Comparison of Emissions, Energy, and Cost Impacts of Diesel and Hybrid Models in the United States in 2010, Nic Lutsey (2011). This article discusses the contribution of two classes of vehicle—diesel and hybrid gasoline/electric—to improvements in emissions reductions and fuel consumption. Using quantitative analysis of various vehicle models, the findings suggest prominent benefits from these vehicle technologies. Both technologies would need to come down in price to become competitive in the U.S. market. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Economic and Environmental Optimization of Vehicle Fleets: Impact of Policy, Market, Utilization, and Technological Factors, Miguel A. Figliozzi, Jesse A. Boudart, and Wei Feng (2011). This article discusses the use of models to inform decisions by fleet managers on the replacement of existing vehicles with cleaner vehicles and electric vehicles. The study considered the impacts of greenhouse gas taxes, incentives to buy electric vehicles, and gasoline prices. The study concludes that the purchase of cleaner vehicles is worthwhile only in scenarios with high vehicle use or high gasoline prices; the current European GHG cap-and-trade price does not significantly affect fleet management decisions; and government incentives to purchase clean vehicles do increase the rate of purchase in high vehicle use or high gasoline price scenarios. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Renewable Natural Gas as Vehicle Fuel, Marianne Mintz and Jeongwoo Han (2011). This article discusses the benefits of using natural gas from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills as a transportation fuel. The findings indicate that using landfill gas as a vehicle fuel consumes significantly fewer Btu of fossil fuel and produces less greenhouse gas emissions, on a lifecycle basis, than using fossil natural gas or petroleum fuels. Landfill gas is also a renewable fuel. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Evolution of the Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet: Anticipating Adoption of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Across the U.S. Fleet, Binny M. Paul, Kara M. Kockelman, and Sashank Musti (2011). This article discusses a study that ran simulations on various scenarios to predict the composition of the U.S. vehicle fleet in 25 years. Results suggest an increase in demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles dependent on better marketing, competitive pricing, government incentives, reliable test reports, and charging infrastructure. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Feebates and Fuel Economy Standards: Impacts on Fuel Use in Light-Duty Vehicles and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Changzheng Liu, Elizabeth C. Cooke, David L. Greene, and David S. Bunch (2011). This article discusses the use of a system by which fees are charged on low fuel economy (or high emitting) vehicles and rebates are issued to high fuel economy (or low emission) vehicles. The study used models to assess various “feebate” structures for optimal improvements to fleetwide fuel economy. The study concludes that feebates could produce large reductions in emissions and fuel consumption. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Promoting the Market for Plug-In Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles: Role of Recharge Availability, Zhenhong Lin and David L. Greene (2011). This article discusses the impact of recharging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the purchases of such vehicles. The study examined the relative impacts of more rechargers at home, at work, and in public spaces. The findings indicate that compared to work and public spaces, home recharging improvements have a greater impact on vehicle sales. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Uncertain Future for California's Low-Carbon Fuel Standard?, Geoffrey M. Morrison and Yuche Chen (2011). This article discusses the effects of various scenarios in regard to ethanol production on California’s low-carbon fuel standard. The study found if the domestic cellulosic ethanol industry does not develop as anticipated by the EPA, up to 25 percent of California’s transportation energy will be supplied by Brazilian ethanol by 2020. Less dramatic effects were found by making changes to ethanol tax credits and ethanol tariffs. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2139: Energy and Global Climate Change 2009. This issue includes 21 papers that explore the impact of shifting to diesel-powered vehicles, estimating the fuel efficiency of road traffic, impacts of road grade on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, fuel prices and consumer preferences for vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hydrogen fueling, vehicle capacity and fuel consumption in household fleets, addressing climate change in transportation planning, and unequal distribution of greenhouse gas emissions from personal travel in the United Kingdom.
Changes Needed to Enable Use of Hydrogen as Alternative Fuel in Commercial Motor Vehicles (2009), Transportation Research Board. This paper provides a brief overview the results of a two-year project undertaken to ascertain changes needed for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to enable the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuels in commercial motor vehicles. At present, there are no general guidelines to assist commercial motor vehicle fleet managers who are considering hydrogen as an alternative fuel. Thus, the primary purpose of DOT's two-year project was to compile general guidelines in lay language on the proper operation, maintenance, and inspection of hydrogen fuel systems in commercial motor vehicles (i.e., trucks and motorcoaches).
Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels, National Academy of Sciences (March 20, 2013). This report looks at how the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet could reduce its petroleum use and greenhouse gas emission levels by 80 percent by 2050. The report also investigates potential barriers to fuel and vehicle technology that may hinder achieving the 2050 target and discusses several policy options that could potentially help overcome cost and consumer concerns.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Action Tool, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (Jan. 10, 2013). C2ES has developed a web-based decision-making tool that can help state departments of transportation establish goals and strategies regarding the development of infrastructure and support for PEVs. The PEV Action Tool was developed in conjunction with the PEV Dialogue Group, a coalition of state DOTs, industry representatives, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations, including AASHTO. The tool maps out the range of actions that DOTs can take regarding the development and promotion of electric vehicles and infrastructure. The map is divided into “profiles,” which describe a DOT’s stage of involvement with PEV development. The tool also includes “categories,” which describe the kinds of actions a DOT can take within each profile. The tool is supported by a report that describes the background research and the concepts underlying the actions map and the various strategies.
Benefits of Recent Improvements in Vehicle Fuel Economy on Overall Fuel Consumption and Emissions, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (Oct. 10, 2012). This analysis finds that average fuel economy for light-duty vehicles increased by 18 percent over five years between October 2007 and September 2012 as a result of more stringent federal standards, saving 6.1 billion gallons of fuel and preventing 120 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the analysis, the amount of fuel saved by newer, more-efficient cars and trucks is the equivalent of taking every vehicle in the United States off the road for 13 days.
Gearing Up: Smart Standards Create Good Jobs Building Cleaner Cars, BlueGreen Alliance (June 26, 2012). The BlueGreen Alliance has issued a report on the benefits to the economy of improved vehicle fuel economy standards. The report says that as many as 570,000 jobs could be created by 2030 as a result of the new corporate average fuel efficiency standards being proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The report estimates that the jobs will be created through the design and manufacture of more efficient vehicles, through increased re-spending of wages from those jobs, and through less money being spent on gasoline.
A Roadmap to Climate-Friendly Cars, Climate Central (April 25, 2012). This report finds that while electric cars are better for the environment than the average-mileage vehicles, in many states popular hybrid or high-mileage conventional gas-powered vehicles can produce less greenhouse gas emissions because they are not charged by electricity generated largely from burning fossil fuels. The report offers a state-by-state roadmap to the most climate-friendly cars currently on the market, based on a comparison of the life-cycle GHG emissions associated with two top-selling electric vehicles and hybrid or conventional gas-powered cars.
Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use, Mineta Transportation Institute (April 25, 2012). This report describes research on whether educational efforts on the benefits of ‘ecodriving’ practices can influence drivers to change their behavior, thereby reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse emissions. The report finds that there are benefits to providing information on ecodriving as a part of driver education that can be achieved at relatively little cost.
Relieving Pain at the Pump: Thanks to Stronger Standards, Consumers Have More Fuel-Efficient Choices, Natural Resources Defense Council (April 19, 2012). This report finds that more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new passenger vehicles proposed by the Obama administration could save drivers $68 billion per year in fuel costs by 2030. According to the report, drivers in Texas, California, and Florida would experience the greatest savings, with Texas drivers alone saving nearly $7.7 billion in annual fuel costs by 2030. The report also finds that consumers are already benefiting from improved efficiency as automobile manufacturers comply with new fuel economy standards that took effect for model year 2012 vehicles.
State of Charge: Electric Vehicles’ Global Warming Emissions and Fuel-Cost Savings Across the United States, Union of Concerned Scientists (April 16, 2012). This report compares fueling costs and greenhouse gas emissions from operating electric vehicles with those fueled by gasoline, finding that charging EVs is cheaper and produces less GHG emissions than most gasoline-powered cars. The report also finds that nationwide, EVs produce fewer GHG emissions than compact gasoline-fueled vehicles, even in regions where electricity is primarily produced by coal-fired power plants.
An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO (March 13, 2012). This report presents a plan for coordinating public and private sector action to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) nationwide. The action plan consists of recommendations presented by a PEV Dialogue Group convened by C2ES in 2011 that included representatives from auto manufactures, electric utilities, environmental groups, and federal and state officials. The recommendations include encouraging utilities and other policymakers to create a consistent regulatory framework nationwide, optimizing public and private investment in PEV charging infrastructure, facilitating PEV rollout, and educating consumers on the costs and benefits of PEVs.
Incorporating Time-Corrected Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Vehicle Regulations, Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (Jan. 12, 2012). This report describes the implementation and results of a simplified greenhouse gas life cycle assessment for two hypothetical future vehicles as described in Lotus Engineering Inc’s 2010 report, An Assessment of Mass Reduction Opportunities for a 2017–2020 Model Year Vehicle Program. The Lotus report found that, using existing mainstream engineering techniques, automakers could reduce passenger vehicle mass by one third with only a three percent increase in components cost, allowing for large fuel savings and reductions in CO2 emissions.
Cleaner Cars, Cleaner Fuel, Cleaner Air: The Need for and Benefits of Tier 3 Vehicle and Fuel Regulations, National Association of Clean Air Agencies (Oct. 31, 2011). This report provides an analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing NACAA’s recommendation that EPA adopt Tier 3 motor vehicle and gasoline standards. The report finds that lowering the average sulfur content of gasoline to 10 parts per million as recommended by the association would lead to emission reductions equivalent to removing 33 million cars and light trucks from the road, at a cost of less than a penny per gallon of gasoline. According to the report, such cleaner gasoline would then allow use of improved technologies on light-duty vehicles that could yield substantial vehicle emissions reductions at a cost of about $150 per vehicle.
Surveys Gauge Southeastern Consumer Sentiment on Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure, Electric Power Research Institute (Oct. 11, 2011). Surveys conducted by EPRI on consumer perception of plug-in electric vehicles in the service territories of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Southern Company find that over 50 percent of respondents would prefer to charge an electric vehicle at home. The surveys, which also address consumer expectations of electric utilities and associated services, find that a majority of respondents expect their local utility to develop public charging stations or to offer installation of at-home charging.
Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy, National Research Council (Oct. 4, 2011). This report, which looks at the environmental and economic benefits of federal biofuel policy, finds that the United States is unlikely to meet its goal of producing 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2022. According to the report, the United States lacks the refining capacity necessary to meet those goals and alternative fuel requires subsidies or a clear price on carbon emissions to compete with petroleum. In addition, the way feedstocks are produced to meet the cellulosic biofuel requirement could offset any projected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Report Cites Progress by Automakers in Meeting EU’s CO2 Emissions Targets, European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) (Sept. 29, 2011). This report by advocacy group T&E finds that Europe’s major auto manufacturer reduced their average vehicle carbon dioxide emissions by 3.7 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, to 140 grams per kilometer (7.9 ounces per mile). The report is the sixth in a series of annual progress reports on automakers’ efforts to reduce average CO2 emissions and meet EU legislation adopted in 2008 that set mandatory targets for CO2 reductions by 2015. According to the report, the emission reductions were achieved even though the average price of new cars in the European Union has declined 13 percent since 2002, indicating that carmakers "considerably overestimated" the costs of implementing legislation that mandates reduced carbon emissions.
European Scientific Study Challenges Assumption on Using Plants for Fuel, European Environment Agency (Sept. 15, 2011). This study by a scientific committee of the EEA challenges the basic assumption that growing plants for fuel use is carbon neutral, finding that fundamental miscalculations were made when the European Union agreed in 2008 to include biofuels as a key to achieving a goal built around having 10 percent of all transport fuels come from renewable energy by 2020.
Biofuels Make a Comeback Despite Tough Economy, Worldwatch Institute (Aug. 29, 2011). The Worldwatch Institute has issued a report that finds an increase in the production of biofuels in 2010 over 2009. Brazil and the United States are the leaders in the production of ethanol, while the largest producer of biodiesel is the European Union. The growth in biofuel production is a result of a combination of high petroleum prices, favorable agricultural conditions, and new biofuel mandates from a number of governments, according to the report.
Despite Methane Emissions Upstream, Natural Gas Is Cleaner than Coal on a Life-Cycle Basis, Worldwatch Institute (Aug. 26, 2011). The Worldwatch Institute has issued a report concluding that even accounting for methane emitted during production, natural gas has lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal. The report, produced in conjunction with the Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, also states that regulatory and technological tools should be put in place to minimize the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
White Papers Address U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Market, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (July 2011). Two new white papers document research conducted by the Pew Center, the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO, and FHWA to accelerate the adoption of PEVs in the United States. The first white paper, Plug-in Electric Vehicles Market: State of Play, identifies challenges for the nationwide development of the PEV market, public policies currently in place to support PEV deployment, PEV market forecasts, and current PEV deployment. The second white paper, Plug-In Electric Vehicles: Literature Review, covers key externalities that PEVs might address; issues related to PEVs, the electric power system, and the vehicle market; and public policy options. A future white paper will define an action plan for integrating PEVs with the U.S. electrical grid nationwide.
Report Highlights State Fuel Cell Technology Policies, Deployment, Fuel Cells 2000 (June 29, 2011). This is a follow-up report to the 2010 report, State of the States: Fuel Cells in America, which highlighted the fuel cell and hydrogen activities and policies of all 50 states. The updated report includes additional detail on the progress and activities of each state, including new policies and funding, recent fuel cell and hydrogen installations, planned installations, and recent activities by state industry and universities. The report cites increased activity by both the states and fuel cell industry.
Will Natural Gas Vehicles Be in Our Future?, Resources for the Future (May 2011) This issue brief examines the evidence for and against natural gas vehicles as a reasonable option to their closest alternatives, focusing primarily on light-duty vehicles running on compressed natural gas, compared to conventional gasoline vehicles and electric hybrids, and heavy-duty trucks running on liquefied natural gas (LNG), compared to diesel trucks. The report finds that LNG trucks can, under certain conditions, be effective in reducing oil and greenhouse gas emissions with reasonably competitive cost-effectiveness, even without government subsidies or mandates. However, the report finds that natural gas as a fuel for light-duty vehicles remains harder to justify without policies in place that price carbon or otherwise favor gas over oil.
Rising Gasoline Prices and Households Expenditures: Will Policymakers Get Serious About Ending Our “Addiction to Oil” by Supporting a 60 Mile Per gallon Standard?, Consumer Federation of America (May 16, 2011). This report analyses a national survey finding that concern over rising gas prices means 65 percent of U.S. consumers may be willing to support an aggressive fuel economy standard of 60 miles per gallon by 2025, if the payback period to pay for higher automobile costs is five years. The survey also found that respondents of both political party affiliations supported the adoption of a 60 mpg standard. EPA and NHTSA currently are developing a proposal to adopt new fuel economy standards for 2017 through 2025, and the report recommends that the Obama administration adopt 60 mph as its long-term fuel economy target.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (March 2011). This document, which is part of the Climate TechBook series on current technologies for reducing GHG emissions from the major economic sectors, provides an overview of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, obstacles to their further deployment, and policy options for promoting them.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Demonstration and Consumer Education, Outreach, and Market Research Program: Volumes I and II, Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. (Feb. 8, 2011) This study conducted by the UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center involved introducing households in the Sacramento area to PHEVs to gauge their experiences with the new technology. The report summarizes the findings from 67 households that drove a Toyota Prius demonstration vehicle that had been converted to a PHEV for four to six weeks between August 2008 and February 2010. The study found that consumers have a limited understanding of plug-in technologies and their benefits and that industry, policymakers, and others who wish to promote PHEVs must find a way to effectively communicate those benefits.
Six Electric Car Predictions for 2011, Jim Motovalli, New York Times (12/24/10). This article from the New York Times, provides predictions for the electric car industry in 2011.
Automobile Fuel Economy Standards: Impacts, Efficiency, and Alternatives, Resources for the Future (October 2010). This report discusses domestic and international fuel economy regulations and how they affect fuel use and other aspects of the vehicle fleet. The report also reviews different methodologies for assessing the costs of fuel economy regulations and their policy implications; compares the welfare effects of fuel economy standards with those of fuel taxes; and assesses whether these two policies complement each other. In addition, the report examines arguments for a "feebate" system, which would impose fees on inefficient vehicles and provide rebates for efficient vehicles.
New Environmental and Emissions Research Facility Opens at Texas A&M University, Texas Transportation Institute (September 2010). The Texas Transportation Institute has announced the opening of the largest drive-in environmentally controlled test chamber in the United States, the Environmental and Emissions Research Facility (EERF). Constructed with the assistance of an EPA competitive grant award, the EERF is designed to help researchers test vehicles, equipment, products, and technologies under severe conditions. The EERF chamber can accommodate large vehicles such as 18-wheelers and buses and allows for the adjustment of environmental factors including temperature, solar impact, and wind speed. Current and future research opportunities at EERF include emissions and fuel consumption of idling vehicles and construction equipment; the ability of plants to absorb emissions; and depletion rates of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at different temperatures.
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle GHG Impacts in California: Integrating Consumer-Informed Recharge Profiles with an Electricity-Dispatch Model, Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (June 2010). This working paper examines the conditions under which plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) may reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the light-duty transportation sector in California. The paper incorporates explicit measures of consumer interest in and potential use of different types of PHEVs and provides a model of the California electricity grid capable of differentiating hourly and seasonal GHG emissions by generation source.
Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy, National Research Council (June 2010). This book provides estimates of the potential savings in fuel consumption and costs to consumers of available technology combinations for spark-ignition gasoline, compression-ignition diesel, and hybrid engines. The estimates indicate that adopting the full combination of improved technologies in medium and large cars and pickup trucks with spark-ignition engines could reduce fuel consumption by 29 percent at an additional cost of $2,200 to the consumer. The book also estimates that replacing spark-ignition engines with diesel engines and components would provide fuel savings of about 37 percent at an added cost of approximately $5,900 per vehicle, and replacing spark-ignition engines with hybrid engines and components would reduce fuel consumption by 43 percent at an increase of $6,000 per vehicle. In addition, the book recommends that vehicle stickers provide consumers with fuel consumption data in addition to fuel economy information.
Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, National Academies, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (May 2010). This report explores the technology status of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), considers the factors that will affect how rapidly PHEVs could enter the marketplace, and estimates the costs and impacts on petroleum consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Economic and Environmental Transportation Effect of Large-Scale Ethanol Production and Distribution in the United States, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 43 Issue 7, American Chemical Society: (April 2009). The combination of current and planned 2007 U.S. ethanol production capacity is 50 billion L/yr, one-third of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) target of 136 billion L of biofuels by 2022. This study evaluate transportation impacts and infrastructure requirements for the use of E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) in light-duty vehicles using a combination of corn and cellulosic ethanol. Ethanol distribution is modeled using a linear optimization model. Estimated average delivered ethanol costs, in 2005 dollars, range from $0.29 to $0.62 per liter, depending on transportation distance and mode. Emissions from ethanol transport estimated in this work are up to 2 times those in previous ethanol LCA studies and thus lead to larger total life cycle effects. Long-distance transport of ethanol to the end user can negate ethanol's potential economic and environmental benefits relative to gasoline. To reduce costs, we recommend regional concentration of E85 blends for future ethanol production and use.
The Role of Biofuels for Transportation in CO2 Emission Reduction Scenarios with Global Versus Regional Carbon Caps, Maria Grahn, Christian Azar, Kristian Lindgren, Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 33, Issue 3, (March 2009). This study analyzes how international climate regimes affect cost-efficiency of fuel choices in the transportation sector. The analysis is carried out with a regionalized version of the Global Energy Transition model, GET-R 6.0. Two different carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction scenarios are applied, both meeting an atmospheric CO2 concentration target of 450 ppm by the year 2100.
Plants at the Pump: Biofuels, Climate Change, and Sustainability, World Resources Institute: (2008). This report addresses the role that transport fuels play in the climate change discussion. The authors analyze the technology of biofuels, the policy structures that drive biofuels technologies, and the drivers for investment and conclude that a shift to biofuels is possible, but will only succeed if standards and incentives are put into place to reward improved carbon and energy performance and promote sustainability.
Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increase Greenhouse Gas through Emissions from Land-Use Change, Science Magazine (2008). This study examines how substituting biofuels for gasoline may increase greenhouse gas emissions as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain or cropland diverted to biofuels.
The Benefits of Reducing Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles, Sierra Research Inc.: Thomas C. Austin, Thomas R. Carlson, James M. Lyons (April 2008). This report discusses the effectiveness of different strategies of reducing US dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
Greening Fleets: A Roadmap to Lower Costs and Cleaner Corporate Fleets, Environmental Defense Fund. This report highlights a partnership to develop best practices for reducing GHG emissions from corporate fleets while lowering costs. The reports finds several companies using the vehicle fleet manager and leasing company PHH Arval Inc.'s GreenFleet program achieved emission reductions averaging 14 percent while reducing operating costs by 4 percent.
The King Review of Low-Carbon Cars, Part I: The Potential for CO2 Reduction (October 2007) and Part II: Recommendations for Action (March 2008) Professor Julia King. The Chancellor of the Exchequer set up the King Review to "examine the vehicle and fuel technologies that, over the next 25 years, could help to decarbonise road transport, particularly cars." Phase I considers the potential for CO2 reduction in transportation, while Phase II results in 40 recommendations for action, which focus on vehicle emissions, cleaner fuels, consumer choices, and research and development.
Biofuels, An Important Part of a Low-Carbon Diet, Union of Concerned Scientists Clean Vehicles Program (November 2007). This report is to ensure that we "count carbs" accurately, by explaining why we need a comprehensive accounting system for carbon emissions--one that measures global warming emissions over a transportation fuel's entire life cycle. We also need to "make carbs count" by creating performance-based policies that will reward low-carbon transportation fuels for their performance.
Biofuels for Transportation: A Climate Perspective, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (June 2008). This paper presents the role of biofuels and their climate impacts. It offers an introduction to the current state of play for biofuels: the technologies used in their production, their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and associated policy issues.
Biofuels for Transport: Policies and Possibilities, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (November 2007). This Policy Brief looks at the current situation with biofuels in road transport, and how governments can balance all these elements when crafting policies for energy and biofuels.
A Convenient Solution to the Inconvenient Truth, Better Environmental Solutions: Ethanol (2007). This report is an analysis to show how ethanol blends can reduce air pollution, improve mileage, and save drivers money.
Clearing the Air with Ethanol - A Review of the Real World Impact from Fuels Blended with Ethanol, Better Environmental Solutions and Renewable Energy Action Project (March 2006). This report reviews several case studies to address concerns about ethanol and ethanol blends increasing ozone pollution.