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Petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions of automobiles could drop 80 percent by 2050
Date:3/18/2013

, the report says, is extremely unlikely with current technologies. Therefore, the study committee also considered other alternatives for vehicles and fuels, including:
  • hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius;
  • plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt;
  • battery electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf;
  • hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, such as the Mercedes F-Cell, scheduled to be introduced about 2014; and
  • compressed natural gas vehicles, such as the Honda Civic Natural Gas.

Although driving costs per mile will be lower, especially for vehicles powered by natural gas or electricity, the high initial purchase cost is likely to be a significant barrier to widespread consumer acceptance, the report says. All the vehicles considered are and will continue to be several thousand dollars more expensive than today's conventional vehicles. Additionally, particularly in the early years, the report predicts that alternative vehicles will likely be limited to a few body styles and sizes; some will rely on fuels that are not readily available or have restricted travel range; and others may require bulky energy storage that will limit their cargo and passenger capacity. Wide consumer acceptance is essential, however, and large numbers of alternative vehicles must be purchased long before 2050 if the on-road fleet is to meet desired performance goals. Strong policies and technology advances are critical in overcoming this challenge.

The report identified several scenarios that could meet the more demanding 2050 greenhouse gas goal. Each combines highly efficient vehicles with at least one of three alternative power sources -- biofuel, electricity, or hydrogen. Natural gas vehicles were considered, but their greenhouse gas emissions are too high for the 2050 goal. However, if the costs of these vehicles can be reduced and appropriate refueling infrastructure created, they have great pot
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Contact: Lorin Hancock
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4 5

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