This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 16, 2011

IEA: Halving Carbon Emissions from New Cars Achievable by 2030

Makers of cars and light trucks sold around the world can double their vehicles' fuel economies and cut their carbon emissions in half by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agency is a partner in the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI), which has produced a new report on the potential for fuel-economy improvements around the world. The GFEI report found that the global fleet of new light-duty vehicles—including cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles—had an average fuel economy of about 30 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2005 and could potentially reach 60 mpg by 2030. According to the report, automakers can achieve this goal through a combination of incremental technology improvements for conventional vehicles, augmented with sales of new electric vehicles.

To meet the goal, the report recommends that countries create regulatory and fiscal environments that encourage automakers to use new technologies to improve fuel economy rather than using them to build heavier or more powerful vehicles. The report notes that some countries, such as India, already have a fairly fuel-efficient fleet. However, significant gains are possible in most industrialized countries, resulting in a 50% gain in fuel economy overall. The GFEI, launched in early 2009, aims to achieve a 50% improvement in average fuel economy for the entire global fleet of light-duty vehicles by 2050. Achieving that goal would result in saving six billion barrels of oil per year. See the IEA press release and the GFEI reportPDF.