How Well Do We Know the Future of CO2 Emissions? Projecting Fleet Emissions from Light Duty Vehicle Technology Drivers

Niall P.D. Martin, Justin D.K. Bishop, Adam M. Boies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


While the UK has committed to reduce CO2 emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, transport accounts for nearly a fourth of all emissions and the degree to which decarbonization can occur is highly uncertain. We present a new methodology using vehicle and powertrain parameters within a Bayesian framework to determine the impact of engineering vehicle improvements on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Our results show how design changes in vehicle parameters (e.g., mass, engine size, and compression ratio) result in fuel consumption improvements from a fleet-wide mean of 5.6 L/100 km in 2014 to 3.0 L/100 km by 2030. The change in vehicle efficiency coupled with increases in vehicle numbers and fleet-wide activity result in a total fleet-wide reduction of 41 ± 10% in 2030, relative to 2012. Concerted internal combustion engine improvements result in a 48 ± 10% reduction of CO2 emissions, while efforts to increase the number of diesel vehicles within the fleet had little additional effect. Increasing plug-in and all-electric vehicles reduced CO2 emissions by less (42 ± 10% reduction) than concerted internal combustion engines improvements. However, if the grid decarbonizes, electric vehicles reduce emissions by 45 ± 9% with further reduction potential to 2050. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3093-3101
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 7 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the UK EPSRC funding provided for this work under the Energy Efficient Cities Initiative (EP/F034350/1) and the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight Transport (EP/K00915X/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


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