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Global Fuel Economy Initiative launches second 3-year campaign; ICCT joins partnership

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) (earlier post) launched its second three-year effort to improve vehicle fuel economy around the world at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig. It also announced that a new partner—the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)—has joined the effort.

GFEI was launched in 2009 as a partnership of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Transport Forum (ITF) and FIA Foundation. It began a “50 by 50” effort calling for cars worldwide to be made 50% more fuel efficient by 2050, with an interim OECD target of 30% improvement by 2020. In 2011, GFEI reported that “50 by 50”) is achievable using existing, cost-effective technologies—if technical potential is only utilized for that purpose, and not to support increases in performance. (Earlier post.)

The Initiative’s new workplan for 2013-15 lays out the challenges which still remain on fuel economy, and outlines the Initiative’s planned response to those challenges.

The latest GFEI research suggests that fuel economy in new light duty vehicles around the world improved between 2005 and 2008 from around 8.1 to 7.7 litres of gasoline equivalent per 100km. The GFEI welcomes this progress but it has not been sufficient to achieve our target of a 50% improvement in new LDVs by 2030 and the total stock of cars by 2050. This represents a rate of 1.7% per year, whereas to hit the 2030 target we need a more than 3% improvement per year from 2012. The picture is, however, very different from country to country and region to region. Indeed whilst there has been tremendous policy progress in several major markets, in some places fuel economy is actually getting worse. So whilst we celebrate the progress which is being made, we know that there is much more still to do. Moreover, whilst climate change and energy security remain high on the political agenda, and countries across the globe face severe economic challenges, the potential of fuel economy to save expenditure on oil and ease international financial imbalances adds to the imperative to make greater progress.

2012 is therefore a very important year. We must make much faster progress in addressing fuel economy by getting many more countries involved in developing fuel economy policies, and by ensuring that globally we tackle the issue in a way which secures real long term gains. That is why the GFEI is delighted to formally welcome the International Council on Clean Transportation to our partnership.

—“Global Fuel Economy Initiative Plan of Action 2012-2015

In it latest workplan, GFEI will continue focus on three key areas of work: policy support, outreach and research and analysis.

Policy support. Here, the objective is to offer real support to countries on fuel economy policies, presenting a suite of possible policy options and helping them to develop a strategy for addressing the issue which suits their circumstances.

Specific targets include:

  • to have the GFEI online tool finalized and ICCT to have published its technology and cost assessment of achieving CO2 g/km targets for the European market in 2020 and beyond;

  • to have completed 4 in-country policy toolkit engagements in Ethiopia, Chile, Kenya and Indonesia by the end of 2012;

  • to have 4 more in-country policy toolkit engagements, to have a further 6 identified, and to integrate the ICCT’s work into the GFEI scope by the end of 2012;

  • to have a further 10 countries in the process of engagement with the tool via a process of expanding-out initial country case studies to regional groupings;

  • to track global progress in a visual manner based on data and analysis to ensure appropriate targeting of interventions across the globe in countries which have not addressed the issue of fuel economy—whatever their economic status; and

  • to have 20 countries in various stages of implementation by 2015 by which time the tool will be self-implementing and ready for global rollout.

Outreach. The objectives are to continue to raise awareness of the issue of fuel economy, and the work of the GFEI at regional and global levels; to encourage awareness of the GFEI’s bespoke country-based support and toolkit; to influence on-going discussions in Europe, US, China, India and elsewhere; and to work in partnership with others in other countries where we can add value and make a positive contribution.

Research and analysis. Objectives are to improve global understanding of fuel economy; and to use data and modeling to assist individual countries in establishing a policy programme to address fuel economy, which is suitable to their circumstances. Specific targets include:

  • In 2012, two major publications will be issued by the ICCT. First, an update its Comparison of Global Fuel Economy Standards to provide a comprehensive update of global fuel economy standards report. This is a major update of the ICCT’s widely-cited global fuel economy chart based on the 2007 report. Second, The Global Climate Transportation Roadmap which enables nations with major vehicle markets to quantify potential benefits of adopting international best practices for passenger and heavy-duty vehicle energy efficiency standards.

  • By end of 2013 to have a prototype working model which can forecast the potential shape of the fleet in each country using core data.

  • Also in 2012-2013, the GFEI partnership will investigate the development of a feebate tool for use in calculating oil savings and CO2 reductions from various levels and designs of a feebate system along with revenue projections.

  • To add to the GFEI’s Working Paper Series.

  • To consider the role of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and electric vehicles and build them into the targets.

  • To identify the 2010 average fuel economy level globally—which will aid in monitoring fuel economy progress—by end 2012.

Potential areas of research interest include:

  • A study of in-use fuel economy, including direct measurement of fuel economy performance on a sample of vehicles in a range of countries, linked to real-time information on the driving conditions, allowing a better understanding of a) real-world driving cycles, b) the relative importance of different factors affecting fuel economy, and c) the differences in real-world fuel economy for different types of vehicles.

  • On-going tracking of average test fuel economy in countries around the world continuing monitoring progress toward the GFEI targets.



Henry Gibson

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