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Transportation Sector: Vehicles & System Efficiency

The transportation sector consumes approximately 28% of all end-use energy in the United States. While significant advances have been made recently to improve the overall efficiency of the sector, particularly with regards to fuel economy, the opportunity for further fuel savings still exists. Technical improvements in vehicles and reasonable government policies that encourage vehicle efficiency could substantially reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector.

However, vehicle improvements will not be able to capture the full potential for energy efficiency  without sound policies that slow the rate of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) across the country. VMT is expected to grow at an annual rate of 1.4%, quickly outpacing population growth in the United States. Strategies such as Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance and incentives to encourage compact, transit-oriented development are critical to achieve maximum fuel savings from transportation. 

Image Source: Fairfax County, Flickr Creative Commons

Vehicle Technologies

Meeting the challenges of oil dependence and global warming calls for big changes in the way our cars are powered. Today automotive technology is blossoming, and dramatically different vehicle options are making their way into the marketplace....
Fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles have improved dramatically in recent years. The original Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars were adopted in 1975 and went unchanged for 35 years. On April 1st, 2010 the U.S....
The high cost of advanced technology, fuel-efficient vehicles is a key barrier to their entry into the market place. Financial incentives have proven to be one of the more effective ways to encourage consumers to purchase these vehicles and enable...
Efforts to minimize tailpipe pollution and reduce oil consumption target fleets because they represent a concentration and level of planning that are missing for personal vehicles. Fleets are often centrally purchased, fueled, maintained, and...
Freight trucks are responsible for almost 20% of all transportation-related fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Our current freight system ensures that economic growth will be accompanied by an increase in truck...
Trucks and buses exceeding 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating consume 2.8 million barrels of petroleum fuels daily, or 20 percent of total transportation fuel use. Their fuel consumption is projected to grow at an average rate of 1.2% per year...

Transportation System Efficiency

Fuel economy and emissions standards are not the only components to consider when addressing transportation sector energy use in the long term. U.S.highway vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) is projected to grow 28% by 2030, substantially outpacing...
Freight trucks are responsible for almost 20% of all transportation-related fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Our current freight system ensures that economic growth will be accompanied by an increase in truck...
Trucks and buses exceeding 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating consume 2.8 million barrels of petroleum fuels daily, or 20 percent of total transportation fuel use. Their fuel consumption is projected to grow at an average rate of 1.2% per year...

Transportation Policy

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) on June 17, 2009. This bill served as a counterpart to the energy provisions in H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act...
On May 12, 2010, after months of deliberation, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT), with input from Senator Graham (R-SC), introduced a discussion draft of comprehensive climate change legislation called the American Power Act of 2010 (APA...
H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), was passed by the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009 but did not become law due to inaction in the Senate. This legislation created a cap-and-trade mechanism, a market-...
Fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles have improved dramatically in recent years. The original Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars were adopted in 1975 and went unchanged for 35 years. On April 1st, 2010 the U.S....
Efforts to minimize tailpipe pollution and reduce oil consumption target fleets because they represent a concentration and level of planning that are missing for personal vehicles. Fleets are often centrally purchased, fueled, maintained, and...
Freight trucks are responsible for almost 20% of all transportation-related fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Our current freight system ensures that economic growth will be accompanied by an increase in truck...
The high cost of advanced technology, fuel-efficient vehicles is a key barrier to their entry into the market place. Financial incentives have proven to be one of the more effective ways to encourage consumers to purchase these vehicles and enable...
Trucks and buses exceeding 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating consume 2.8 million barrels of petroleum fuels daily, or 20 percent of total transportation fuel use. Their fuel consumption is projected to grow at an average rate of 1.2% per year...

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