Transport and Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

© Shutterstock The global vehicle fleet is set to increase rapidly from about 850 million today to as much as 2.5 to 3 billion by 2050. Ninety percent of this growth is set to take place in developing and transitional countries. As the average vehicle fuel economy in these countries is stagnant, it is predicted that greenhouse gas emissions of the global fleet are set to triple. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the transport sector has the highest growth of CO2 emission of any sector – its contribution to energy related CO2 emissions are estimated to go from one quarter today to one-third by 2050. Black carbon and pollutant emissions are also set to increase similarly with major health and short-term climate impacts. 

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) was established in 2009 with the primary aim to reduce emissions and at least double the efficiency of the global vehicle fleet from an average of 8L/100 km in 2005 to 4L/100 km by 2050. It also aims to halve new light duty vehicle fuel economy (in l/100km or gCO2/km) by 2030 – based on IPCC and G8 targets and recommendations. Even if vehicle kilometres driven will double by 2050, efficiency improvements on this scale would effectively cap emissions of CO2 from cars at current levels. It is estimated that CO2 savings would exceed 1Gt CO2 annually by 2025 going to 2Gt CO2 annually by 2050.

Deploying Integrated Transport Efficiency Policies 

There are various types of policies that countries can introduce to improve efficiency of transport fuel use, like improving road conditions, providing high quality transport fuels, promoting eco-driving, better vehicle technologies and improving urban transport systems. 

The Transport Efficiency Accelerator focuses on supporting improvement of vehicle efficiency through a mix of policies and measures like, fuel economy standards that can be in the form of L/100 kms or CO2g/km; fiscal policies like feebates that tax inefficient vehicles and provide rebates for efficient vehicles; tax-based policies with vehicle registration or ownership fees; fuel economy labeling; age limits and import restrictions.

Fuel economy policies have been introduced in many countries around the world, including the United States, EU countries, China, and Japan. But most developing and transitional countries have yet to introduce such policies. These would also result in major cost and energy benefits, in addition to climate benefits. There is only a small window of opportunity to get these policies in place before fleets will grow exponentially. It is important to make sure that the additional 2 billion vehicles that will be added in developing and transitional countries over the coming decades will not result in increasing global emissions. Countries that have put fuel economy measures in place have achieved massive improvements in their fuel economy, just by using existing technologies. The GFEI challenge is to ensure that these policies are now introduced in all countries world-wide. Wide introduction of new state of the art technologies, such as electric vehicles, could further reduce emissions of the global fleet.

Download the flyer on Transport and Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Accelerator here.

Photo credit: © Shutterstock
16 JUNE 2019