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For 2025 Fuel Economy Regulations, Electrification Not Entirely Necessary

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There's More Than One Way to Improve Fuel Economy
There’s More Than One Way to Improve Fuel Economy

United States’ average fuel economy, having reached an all-time high in 2013, is only getting started, considering the emissions regulations put in place.

The US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), in an effort to curb emissions, specifically carbon dioxide emissions, has set some regulations that govern how much carbon dioxide that specific automakers can generate across the lineup. The EPA regulations basically state that the average CO2 emissions of all the vehicles made in a certain year need to be at a certain level.

By 2025, average CO2 emissions, for each automaker, needs to be at 163 grams per mile. If this rate of emissions were to be achieved strictly by fuel economy improvements, it would average out to 54.5 mpg (miles per gallon). CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) improvements have been achieved by a number of methods, from engine improvements to vehicle electrification.

Of course, it’s up to each automaker to determine which route they’ll take to improve their CAFE numbers. Toyota, for example, has achieved better fuel economy by hybridization. Tesla Motors, of course, doesn’t use any fuel at all, upstream emissions notwithstanding. Some have suggested that the only way to meet the EPA’s stringent CO2 emissions requirements is via vehicle electrification.

On the other hand, some Johnson Controls research results seem to indicate that vehicle electrification isn’t entirely necessary. Ford, for example, has boosted its fuel economy by turning to small-displacement turbocharged engines. General Motors has turned to start-stop systems in its search for better fuel economy.

Most automakers can achieve a CAFE rating of 54.5 mpg by 2025 by application of more-efficient engines, start-stop systems, turbocharging, and direct fuel injection, according to Johnson Controls’ research. Johnson Controls also estimates these technologies are far more cost-effective methods of improving fuel economy, which also keeps costs down for both automakers’ R&D and manufacturing departments, as well as for consumers.

Photo credit: mjecker Foter CC BY-NC-ND

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