October 22, 1997

The transportation sector produces approximately one-third of total U.S. emissions. According to a recently released report from five of the nation's energy laboratories, programs such as the ones below can reduce emissions in the transportation sector in 2010 by 73 million metric tons even with no increase in energy prices.

High Efficiency Cars And Light Trucks: The goal of the President's Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles is to produce cars that are three times more efficient than current vehicles with no compromise in size, safety, comfort or cost. The objective is a production prototype vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 80 mpg in 2004 and commercial availability soon after. A variety of efficient technologies such as hybrid vehicle design, advanced engines, regenerative braking and lightweight materials are under development. These technologies are also applicable to light trucks and sport utility vehicles, so that a PNGV for these heavier passenger vehicles is quite possible with an expanded research effort.

High efficiency heavy trucks: Ongoing federal R&D on advanced diesel engines and lightweight materials have the potential to substantially reduce carbon emissions from heavy trucks. These technologies are projected to be available by about 2003 and be quickly adopted by trucking manufacturers since energy is a major cost component of freight transportation (a truck typically gets 7 to 8 miles per gallon while traveling over 50,000 miles a year).

Advanced Efficient Aircraft and Rail: Ongoing federal R&D on advanced aircraft engines, improved airframes, and air traffic control have the potential to improve aircraft energy efficiency by 35 percent, with an additional increment of carbon emissions reductions achieved by increasing the efficiency of trains.

Low-Carbon Fuel: Government-industry R&D partnerships have brought the cost of ethanol from cellulosic waste (such as crop waste) and dedicated crops (such as switchgrass) from $3.60 per gallon in 1980 to $1.20 per gallon today. Such fuels are carbon neutral because the crops capture carbon dioxide when they grow and release it during combustion.

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