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Published on August 27th, 2008 | by Andrew Williams

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U.S. Could Cut Fuel Use 50% by 2035

August 27th, 2008 by  
 

[social_buttons] A new report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative predicts that a 30-50% reduction in fuel consumption is possible in the US over the next 25-30 years. Initially, this will be achieved through improved gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions, gasoline hybrids and reductions in vehicle weight and drag. In the longer term, the study concludes that plug-in hybrids and, later, hydrogen fuel cells may begin to have a significant impact on fuel use and emissions.

The report, ‘On the Road in 2035: Reducing Transportation’s Petroleum Consumption and GHG Emissions,’ summarizes the results of an MIT research project that assessed the technology of vehicles and fuels that could be developed and commercialized during the next 25 years.

The research team assessed the effect of new vehicle and fuel technologies on the performance, cost and lifecycle emissions of individual vehicles. It then assessed the effects on the total on-the-road fleet of introducing these technologies using “plausible assumptions about how rapidly they could be developed, manufactured and sold to buyers to replace existing vehicles and fuels or to add to the existing fleet.”

Other key findings include:

  • Alternative fuels simpy seeking to replace petroleum are unlikely to lead to a significant change in GHG emissions. In fact, major near-term alternatives like the Candian oil-sands and coal will actually increase emissions;
  • Although some biofuels may prove beneficial, the U.S. emphasis on corn-based ethanol is “not obviously justifiable,” since it has “high economic costs, questionable GHG advantages, and other unfavorable environmental impacts.”
  • No single alternative fuel or technological development is likely to solve the problems of increased GHG emissions. Instead, progress must come from from a “comprehensive, coordinated effort to develop and market more efficient vehicles and benign fuels, and to find more sustainable ways to satisfy transportation demands.”

Other Posts on Fuel Economy:

Image Credit – futureatlas.com on Flickr via a Creative Commons License


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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • It’s about time th ecountry woke up to the need for oil. It has cost us more than money!

  • It’s about time th ecountry woke up to the need for oil. It has cost us more than money!

  • Anon

    Okay, fine. I’ll play the hippy. What about hemp? Switch the cars to bio-diesel.

  • Anon

    Okay, fine. I’ll play the hippy. What about hemp? Switch the cars to bio-diesel.

  • Anon

    Okay, fine. I’ll play the hippy. What about hemp? Switch the cars to bio-diesel.

  • Anon

    Okay, fine. I’ll play the hippy. What about hemp? Switch the cars to bio-diesel.

  • This should help the world more than any MIT prediction ever could 😉

    Not that we don’t love your 1800’s tech.

    Sincerely,

    The Overseer

  • This should help the world more than any MIT prediction ever could 😉

    Not that we don’t love your 1800’s tech.

    Sincerely,

    The Overseer

  • yes you should listen MIT because they are some of the worlds brightest people. Now I don’t know about any of you but on day I hope to be solving this problem rather than complaining about. In my book if you are not doing anything about it you are a waste of space and should remove your self from the giene pool. All you are you are doing is wasting energy.

  • Uncle B

    Pinkins says go natural gas since we have lots of it. Can a natural gas fueled, ultra-high compression, super efficient, two-stroke, fuel injected, turbocharger scavenged, ultra light engine along the lines of the three cylinder Detroit diesel be developed for automotive purposes by GM in time to save our butts? Electric cars just seem so far away from what we have!

  • Uncle B

    Pinkins says go natural gas since we have lots of it. Can a natural gas fueled, ultra-high compression, super efficient, two-stroke, fuel injected, turbocharger scavenged, ultra light engine along the lines of the three cylinder Detroit diesel be developed for automotive purposes by GM in time to save our butts? Electric cars just seem so far away from what we have!

  • In the vein of every little bit just helps, there are a lot of things that can be done by us “everyday drivers”, such as:

    – Driving the speed limit

    – Driving less aggressively

    – Keep your tires inflated

    – Don’t excessively run your air when not needed

    – Etc

    It won’t solve the 50%, but it will at least make a dent in it with minimal effort.

    Sincerely,

    RK

    http://www.drivethespeedlimit.net

  • In the vein of every little bit just helps, there are a lot of things that can be done by us “everyday drivers”, such as:

    – Driving the speed limit

    – Driving less aggressively

    – Keep your tires inflated

    – Don’t excessively run your air when not needed

    – Etc

    It won’t solve the 50%, but it will at least make a dent in it with minimal effort.

    Sincerely,

    RK

    http://www.drivethespeedlimit.net

  • MeMySelfandYou

    The USA could half its gas needs in one year if the average car engine capacity was educed by two thirds, many of their SUV’s and pickup trucks are equivalent to 5 or 6 small cars here in the uk.

    I think you should think yourselves very lucky, we almost pay the same for a litre of gas in the UK as they do for a gallon, tell me who is being selfish here, while the rest of the world picks up the carbon taxes, wake up.

  • MeMySelfandYou

    The USA could half its gas needs in one year if the average car engine capacity was educed by two thirds, many of their SUV’s and pickup trucks are equivalent to 5 or 6 small cars here in the uk.

    I think you should think yourselves very lucky, we almost pay the same for a litre of gas in the UK as they do for a gallon, tell me who is being selfish here, while the rest of the world picks up the carbon taxes, wake up.

  • Pingback: MIT report says most of us will say goodbye to fuel by 2035()

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