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EIA projects light-duty vehicle energy use to drop 12% by 2025

The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case projects a decline in light-duty vehicle energy use between 2018 and 2040 as improvements in fuel economy more than offset increases in light-duty vehicle (LDV) miles.

EIA projects that light-duty vehicle energy consumption will decrease 12%—from 16.1 quadrillion Btu in 2017 to 14.2 quadrillion Btu in 2025—in the AEO2017 Reference case, despite projected growth in vehicle-miles traveled of 5% over the same period. Nearly all of this energy consumption is gasoline, with gasoline consumption by light-duty vehicles projected to fall from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2017 to 7.5 million barrels per day in 2025 (-13.8%).

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Energy consumption by light-duty vehicles is based on two factors: the amount of travel and the fuel economy of the vehicles used. Light-duty vehicle-miles traveled in the US set a record at 2.84 trillion miles in 2016. However, as the number of miles driven per vehicle has remained relatively steady at about 12,000 miles per vehicle, the recent increase in vehicle-miles traveled is more attributable to an increase in the number of vehicles in use. EIA expects light-duty vehicle-miles traveled per year to continue to increase, ultimately reaching 3.33 trillion miles traveled in 2040.

The net effect of these fuel economy trends is that light-duty vehicle energy consumption is projected to decrease 12%, from 16.1 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2017 to 14.2 quadrillion Btu in 2025 in the AEO2017 Reference case, despite projected growth in vehicle-miles traveled of 5% over the same period. Nearly all of this energy consumption is gasoline, with gasoline consumption by light-duty vehicles projected to fall from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2017 to 7.5 million barrels per day in 2025.

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The fuel economy of the light-duty vehicle stock is also expected to increase because of market developments and increases in fuel economy standards for new vehicles. Although sales of new vehicles make up a relatively small portion of the total light-duty vehicle fleet in any year and existing vehicles can remain on the road for many years, fuel economy standards for new vehicles and the mix of vehicles purchased have long-term implications for fuel consumption, the agency noted.

For model year 2015, the required fuel economy standards averaged about 35 miles per gallon (mpg) for passenger cars and about 27 mpg for light trucks after taking into account the footprint mix of vehicles sold within each category. The standards for each category are currently required to increase over time so that the standards for model year 2025 vehicles are expected to reach about 53 mpg and 38 mpg, respectively.

Because compliance fuel economy is based on a specific test procedure that applies certain credits, compliance fuel economy generally exceeds on-road fuel economy. On-road fuel economy is more relevant for estimating and forecasting energy consumption because it reflects how the vehicle is actually used. For model year 2015, new vehicle on-road fuel economies averaged about 31 mpg for passenger cars and about 21 mpg for light trucks.

EIA’s AEO2017 projections reflect both the changes in the vehicle sales mix and the fuel economy standards that are applied separately to new passenger cars and light trucks. Despite an increasing share of vehicles classified as light trucks, the AEO2017 Reference case projects improved fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles and the in-use vehicle fleet through 2025 and beyond.

Based on the more stringent fuel economy standards covering model years through 2025 that have already been established, new on-road vehicle fuel economy for passenger cars is projected to increase 43% between 2015 and 2025, from 31 mpg in 2015 to 45 mpg. New on-road light truck fuel economy is projected to increase 46% over the same period, from 21 mpg to 31 mpg. Fuel economy of the overall vehicle stock rises more slowly, given the slower turnover of light-duty vehicles.

Because light trucks are projected to make up a growing share of the total light-duty vehicle fleet, the weighted-average fuel economy is expected to be closer to that of light trucks. In the AEO2017 Reference case, on-road fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles increases from about 25 mpg in 2015 to 36 mpg in 2025.

Comments

Lad

This forecast only addresses fuel saving achieved by efficiency increases of ICE cars. It doesn't address the displacement of gasoline by electricity. Many believe these figures are of little consequence when 90% plus of all vehicles are driven by electric motors by 2040.

SJC

Lots of good things happening with HEV, PHEV, EV in cars trucks and buses. It carries itself, it is more economical, healthier and less dependent on imported oil.

mahonj

I only see two dark spots on the horizon: Trump and low oil costs. The only way you will get Americans to buy low mpg cars is to force them with federal standards, and Trump could cancel that (or try to).

There are plenty of ways to reduce the fuel consumption of cars: hybridisation (to whatever degree), lightweighting, better aerodynamics and lower rolling resistance tires, etc, so technically, it can be done; but with low fuel costs, there is less economic reason to do it. Hence you need federal standards (and the ones you have now will do fine [IMO] ).

Brent Jatko

I don't see Trump having a huge effect on mileage standards. Carmakers need regulatory stability for planning purposes.

gorr

I always advocate to drive like me a small gasoline car at low speed but in ALL green websites, the bloggers lauph at me with my 2005 neon. There it is, big f-150 are selling in big quantities and driven fast because bloggers are hypocrite leftists spreading fake datas. They stick in car web magazines where they only do articles on big porsches and dodge vipers and suvs and it's them that mandate putting food ethanol in gas to a ratio of 15 percent or more. All leftist of the world are in blogs and they insist to tax and pollute everything.

HarveyD

There are many very effective ways to reduce the use of polluting fossil fuel while creating more jobs.

1. A long term progressive federal fossil fuel tax to convince users to purchase lower consumption smaller vehicles.

2. A progressive yearly federal registration road tax based on vehicle weight, fuel consumption and distance travelled.

3. Use part of the $$$$B collected to fix existing roads and bridges and build new ones.

4. Use part of the collected $$$$B for a long term program to promote/support the sales of (locally made) electrified (BEVs-FCEVs) vehicles and trains and build essential clean energy stations.

gorr

@ harveyd
1. A long term progressive fuel tax will raise the price of transported foods and goods for everyones and i don't use hypocrisy like you to ask for higher taxes, i use internet to promote smaller vehicles for everyones to lower pollution.
2. again you ask for higher fees for the poors, a typical leftist line.
3. It's already in place but not applied really because leftists just ask for more and more taxes for them.
4. It's already in place and almost nobody buy, LOL, it is just new kind of same old taxes for crooked leftists.

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