TABLE H.4 Plausible Reductions in Petroleum Use from Vehicle Efficiency Improvements over the Next 25 Years and Estimated Incremental Cost of Advanced Vehicles Relative to a Baseline 2005 Standard Gasoline Vehicle

Propulsion System

Petroleum Consumption (gasoline equivalent)

Incremental Retail Price (2007 dollars)

Relative to Current Gasoline ICE

Relative to 2035 Gasoline ICE


Light Truck

Current gasoline




Current diesel




Current HEV




2035 gasoline





2035 diesel





2035 HEV





2035 PHEV





2035 BEV




2035 hydrogen FCV




NOTE: BEV, battery electric vehicle; FCV, fuel cell vehicle; HEV, hybrid electric vehicle; ICE, internal combustion engine.

SOURCE: Report from the NRC Panel on Energy Efficiency (NAS-NAE-NRC, 2010) quoting Bandivadekar et al. (2008).

1.4 to provide representative retail price estimates (Evans, 2008). The timescales indicated for these future technology vehicles are not precise. The rate of price reduction will depend on the deployment rate (Bandivadekar et al., 2008; Evans, 2008).

The results in Table H.4 show that alternative powertrains such as improved gasoline and diesel engines and hybrids entering the fleet today cost from 10 percent to 30 percent more than a current gasoline vehicle. This price difference is estimated to drop to 5 percent to 15 percent in the midterm future. Longer-term options such as plug-in hybrid and FCVs are estimated to cost between 25 and 30 percent more than a future gasoline vehicle. Battery electric vehicles with standard vehicle performance and size remain costly, approaching double the cost of a future gasoline vehicle. A more plausible market opportunity for BEVs is small city cars with reduced range. However, these also will need significantly improved battery performance and battery costs to become competitive.

Based on the estimates in Table H.4, the NRC energy efficiency panel concludes that evolutionary improvements in gasoline ICE vehicles are likely to prove the most costeffective way to reduce petroleum consumption. Since these vehicles will be sold in large quantities in the near term, it is critical that their efficiency improvements are directed toward reducing fuel consumption. While the current hybrids appear less competitive than a comparable diesel vehicle, they are likely to become more cost competitive over time. PHEVs, BEVs, and FCVs appear to be more costly alternatives for reducing petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Among these three technologies, PHEVs are likely to become available in the near to midterm, whereas BEVs and FCVs are mid- to long-term alternatives.


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