The Michigan Engineer News Center

Passenger cars & trucks contribute 15% of greenhouse gases

A Michigan Engineering professor served on the national committee that authored a new report on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse standards that was recently released.| Short Read

A Michigan Engineering professor served on the national committee that authored a new report on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse standards.

The recently-released National Research Council report, titled “Cost, Effectiveness, and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles,” offers an independent assessment of the CAFE and greenhouse gas national program and the costs and effectiveness of the technologies that are expected to contribute to meeting new standards implemented in 2012. The report is intended to inform the agencies’ mid-term review.

In 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for light-duty vehicles – passenger cars and light trucks – offered for sale in the U.S. over the years 2017 to 2025. These CAFE and greenhouse gas standards will require the U.S. new vehicle fleet to double its fuel economy by 2025. The agencies are planning to do a mid-course review to evaluate a variety of factors related to the standards, including if technology development and implementation are on track to help automakers meet the standards.

“Light duty vehicles are contributing 15 percent of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. So, they are to blame for the 15 percent of global warming or 15 percent of how humans adversely and perhaps irreversibly affect our planet,” said Anna Stefanopoulou, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Michigan and director of the university’s Automotive Research Center. Stefanopoulou participated in the study.

“This report looks into an important step our nation is taking toward taming this 15 percent monster,” she added.

Stefanopoulou helped to review powertrain technologies such as engines, electrification and transmission, and especially the effectiveness of modeling, optimization and control vehicle fuel consumption.

“This report is unique because it reviews the effectiveness and cost of technologies that could reduce our light-duty vehicle consumption by almost 50 percent in 10 years emitting the CO2 equivalent of a vehicle with 54.5 mpg and hence, stabilize the US light duty vehicle contributions to greenhouse gases,” said Stefanopoulou.

Portrait of Angela Wegrecki


Angela Wegrecki
Marketing Communications Manager

Mechanical Engineering

(734) 647-8087

2252A GG Brown

A simulation of the landing .

Sticking the landing on Mars: High-powered computing aims to reduce guesswork

As the Mars 2020 launch approaches, a separate effort is using simulations to understand landing dynamics for tomorrow's missions. | Medium Read