Working together to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy

energy Russia energy china flag

Technology Roadmap: Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles - Foldout

Technology Roadmap: Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles - Foldout
Download publication

Edition: 2012
2 pages

Release Date: September 19, 2012


This roadmap explores the potential improvement of existing technologies to enhance the average fuel economy of motorised vehicles; the roadmap’s vision is to achieve a 30% to 50% reduction in fuel use per kilometre from new road vehicles including 2-wheelers, LDV s and HDV s) around the world in 2030, and from the stock of all vehicles on the road by 2050. This achievement would contribute to significant reductions in GHG emissions and oil use, compared to a baseline projection.

Different motorised modes are treated separately, with a focus on LDV s, HDV s and powered two-wheelers. A section on in-use fuel economy also addresses technical and nontechnical parameters that could allow fuel economy to drastically improve over the next decades. Technology cost analysis and payback time show that significant progress can be made with low or negative cost for fuel-efficient vehicles over their lifetime use. Even though the latest data analysed by the IEA for fuel economy between 2005 and 2008 showed that a gap exists in achieving the roadmap’s vision, cutting the average fuel economy of road motorised vehicles by 30% to 50% by 2030 is achievable, and the policies and technologies that could help meet this challenge are already deployed in many places around the world.

This report has been released in tandem with another report the Policy Pathways: Improving the Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles - A policy package, which describes the policies needed to deploy more fuel economic vehicles in more detail.

Key Findings

  • Most key technologies for improving the fuel economy of two-wheelers, light-duty vehicles (LDV) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) are already commercially available and cost-effective. Compared with 2005 levels, the potential for improving the fuel economy of all vehicle types within the 2030 time frame ranges from 30% to 50%. This represents a very important opportunity for saving oil and cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) over the coming two decades and beyond. Fuel efficiency accounts for a 4.5 GtCO2 reduction in the 2DS compared to 6DS in 2050, representing 50% of total emissions reductions in the transport sector.
  • Although many fuel-saving technologies are already commercially available and cost-effective, particularly when considered over the lifetime of vehicles, their market penetration is often low because of a range of barriers explained in this roadmap. Strong policies are needed to ensure that the full potential of these technologies is achieved over the next ten to 20 years.
  • Some technologies need additional research to become commercially viable, including waste heat recovery devices, electro-mechanical valve actuation, low-friction lubricants and some lightweight materials. New propulsion systems requiring new fuels, such as plug-in electric vehicle systems and fuel cell systems, are beyond the scope of this roadmap and are treated in separate roadmaps.
  • There is often a gap between the fuel economy measured in vehicle tests and in-use vehicle performance. This gap can be up to 20% and must be reduced to minimise actual fuel use. Strategies to close this gap include better design of fuel economy test cycles, improved traffic flow and better road surface conditions. “Eco-driving”, which includes a suite of technologies and actions to improve driving styles and vehicle operating characteristics, also has significant potential to improve fuel economy.
  • Policies that promote fuel economy technologies and improve tested and in-use fuel economy, including fuel economy standards, fiscal measures and information/education programmes, will play a critical role in maximising fuel economy improvements in all countries over the coming decades. These are introduced in this roadmap and investigated in greater depth in the companion IEA document Policy Pathway to Improve the Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles (Box 1).
  • Fuel economy standards are in place in most OECD member countries and China, and are helping to make important progress in these countries. These can be used as guides for other countries seeking to improve fuel economy. Most major economies should aim to implement fuel economy standards, as part of a comprehensive fuel economy policy package, by 2015, with strong fuel economy improvement targets for 2020 and even out to 2030. Important complementary policies include fuel economy labelling, fuel economy or CO2-adjusted vehicle tax systems (such as “feebates”), and fuel taxes.
  • In countries that already have strong policies, these policies and their targets should be tightened to maintain progress, and by 2015, extended to 2030 and expanded to cover all road vehicle types, particularly heavy duty vehicles.

 Energy Technology Perspectives 2012:


Related links:

Additional Information: