For instance, the savings from buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle can offset the added cost of technology in less than a year by using technologies that are already available and manufacturing vehicles that achieve the CAFE standards and even go beyond them.
The study also suggests improving fuel economy for heavy-duty fleet by refining aerodynamics, using lower rolling-resistance tires and reducing speed. Those changes could contribute about 13 percent of the transportation sector's reduction goal by 2015. There could be an even greater emission reduction if goods movement shifts from truck and airplane to rail and boat.
"The technology to make this happen exists, it is just a matter of using it," said David Kittelson, professor of mechanical engineering and study researcher. "The engines we use in our cars are no worse or better than the engines they have in passenger cars in Japan or Germany - the difference is, we put our engines in enormous cars."
It is more than just fuel efficiency though; low-carbon fuels can also help. The researchers say that biofuel production must start using non-food materials to produce a more efficient biofuel that could contribute 27 percent of Minnesota's reduction goals by 2015.
To reach and potentially exceed the emissions goals, the researchers say that there are actions that the average person to can take, such as using fuel-efficient vehicles, choosing homes that are close to their work so they are able to walk or bicycle, carpool or use public transportation and obey posted speed limits to improve fuel economy.
"This is a groundbr
|Contact: Patty Mattern|
University of Minnesota