Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-2770
2009-11-02

Implications of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for the US Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet 2009-01-2770

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established a new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) requiring increased biofuel use (through 2022) and greater fuel economy (through 2030) for the US light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet. Ethanol from corn and cellulose is expected to supply most of the biofuel and be used in blends with gasoline. A model was developed to assess the potential impact of these mandates on the US LDV fleet. Sensitivity to assumptions regarding future diesel prevalence, fuel economy, ethanol supply, ethanol blending options, availability of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs), and extent of E85 use was assessed. With no E85 use, we estimate that the national-average ethanol blend level would need to rise from E5 in 2007 to approximately E10 in 2012 and E24 in 2022. Nearly all (97%) US gasoline LDVs were not designed to operate with blends greater than E10. FFVs are designed to use ethanol blends up to E85 but comprise only 3% of the fleet. To satisfy the RFS2 using E10 and E85 requires very large scale introduction of FFVs (tens of millions) in the next 10-20 years. The RFS2 has profound ramifications for LDV technology.

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