Is it possible for combustion engine vehicles to improve their fuel efficiency by 50 per cent? According to two new reports by the International Energy Agency (logo, pictured) – it just may be.
The IEA has released two reports – one entitled Technology Roadmap: Fuel Economy for Road Vehicles; and the other entitled Policy Pathway: Improving the Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles. The first looks at the technologies needed to achieve a more efficient stock by 2030; while the second looks at policy packages that can help deliver improved fuel economy.
Overall, the two reports suggest that if governments act quickly, the world could stabilise demand for oil even if the number of road vehicles doubled by 2050.
So how can this be achieved?
In terms of technology, the IEA roadmap looks at improving the average fuel economy of road vehicles with the aim to achieve a 30-50 per cent reduction in fuel use from new road vehicles by 2030, and from the stock of all road vehicles by 2050. It suggests that strong policies are needed to ensure that fuel saving technologies, many of which are already commercially available, reach their full potential. Some technologies will need more research to become commercially viable – such as waste heat recovery; low friction lubricants; lightweight materials; and electromechanical valve actuation.
Now the IEA recommends that clear fuel economy and CO2 emission targets be established for light duty vehicles and trucks; that governments work diligently to enact policies that support technological development; that research and development continues; and there is an increased international collaboration on fuel economy – such as by aligning targets and policy designs.
In terms of policy recommendations, the IEA wants to see policies to improve road vehicle fuel economy as these will encourage the transformation of the new vehicle market. It also wants the provision of high quality information on vehicle fuel economy; and vehicle fuel economy to play an increased role to overcome market failures in most countries.
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