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Analysis & Projections

Study of the Potential Energy Consumption Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles

Release date: March 30, 2017



The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) contracted with Z, INC. to analyze the potential energy consumption implications of connected and automated vehicle technologies on light-, medium-, and heavy-duty on- and off-road vehicles in the United States.

Z, INC. subcontracted with Energetics Incorporated to review the state of automated vehicle technologies and project potential energy effects by:

  • Conducting a literature review and interviewing key stakeholders on the current state and projected development of automated vehicles, applicable technologies, and regulations
  • Discussing the potential implications of these technologies on future vehicle sales, usage, ownership, and energy consumption
  • Developing an Excel-based model to project energy consumption effects of different adoption scenarios based on the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 Reference case

Recognizing that connected and automated vehicle technologies and regulations are rapidly developing, Energetics recommended further study as more data become available. Suggested further study includes:

  • Projection scenarios with all five levels of autonomy and possible ownership models available
  • Exploring the effects of human factors on trust, adoption, and usage related to vehicle miles traveled, purchasing, and ownership strategy
  • Improving the projections to include vehicle powertrain and fuel type
EIA plans to incorporate into the upcoming Annual Energy Outlook 2018 a methodology for projecting the effects of connected and automated vehicles on energy consumption, sales, ownership, fuel economy, and related vehicle metrics for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles. EIA will use this report to help develop inputs and methodology to enable projection scenarios with varying degrees of connected and automated vehicle adoption. Further expansion and refinement will be possible as the technologies evolve and existing and future regulations develop in response to these technologies.


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