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Fuel economy improvements for light duty vehicles

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), standard gasoline vehicles, including those that usemicro and mild hybridization, will retain nearly 80% of new sales in 2025 and 78% in 2040.

Source: US Energy Information Administration, modified from

Several fuel efficient technologies that can deliver significant reductions in fuel consumption are currently or willsoon be available for standard gasoline vehicles. These technologies can enable manufacturers to meet future greenhouse gas emissions and corporate averagefuel economy (CAFE) standards, at a relatively modest cost. These technologies include:

  • Engine technologies such as variable timing and lift, cylinder deactivation, turbocharging, and downsizing.
  • Electrification technologies such as electric power steering, and micro or mild hybridization (turning off the engine when the car is stopped).
  • Vehicle technologies such as fuel efficient tyres and aerodynamics.
  • Weight reduction technologies.
  • Transmission technologies such as aggressive shift logic (controlling on automatic transmission to maximize fuel efficiency) or 8-speed transmission.

EIA explains that the addition of these fuel efficient technologies to standard gasoline vehicles can substantially increase fuel economy. For example, in the midsize passenger car category, the largest share of sales among light duty vehicles, standard gasoline vehicle compliance fuel economy increased from approximately 35 mpg today to 53 mpg by 2025, an increase of 50%, while the vehicle price rises from US$ 25 000 to approximately US$ 27 000, an increase of less than 10%.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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