Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1501–1519 | Cite as

Energy rating methodology for light-duty vehicles: geographical impact

  • Sara Marques
  • Luis Reis
  • João L. Afonso
  • Carla Silva


The aim of this paper was to describe a new energy dependency score methodology and its consequent application to cars sold in twelve regions: Europe (EU-28) and eleven specific countries worldwide (Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and USA). This methodology was developed as a potential tool to inform consumers of their choice impact on the country’s economy. This methodology is based on primary energy assessments and origins for each energy pathway associated with a gasoline-, diesel-, natural gas (used for H2 production)- or electricity (balanced with country electricity mix)-powered vehicle. An energy dependency index was attributed to the best-case (100 % endogenous production) and worst-case (0 % endogenous production) scenarios and consequently weighted with vehicle fuel consumption. This enabled obtaining an energy dependency index (10–0). This index could be assigned to an environmental and social index to provide a sustainability index and therefore complement a road vehicle environmental rating system, providing a combined index rating. Internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrid vehicles (that have oil products as energy source) rate the lowest for almost all locations, with the exception of regions that are energy independent (Norway, Saudi Arabia or Russia). Electric vehicles rank higher when comparing to the other technologies analyzed for all locations in this study. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle shows generally a rank in an intermediate place, except for Japan where it scores lower than all other technologies.


Energy dependency score Light-duty vehicles Alternative technologies Countries energy balance Decision support 







Acronym for an association of five major emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa


Corporate average fuel consumption


Charge depleting




Carbon dioxide


Portuguese Energy and Geology Management Department (Direção Geral de Energia e Geologia)


Charge sustaining


Urban driving cycles


Energy dependency index


Energy dependency factor


United States Environmental Protection Agency




Extra urban driving cycle


Electric vehicle


Federal Test Procedure


Fuel cell hybrid vehicle


Hybrid vehicle


International Council on Clean Transportation


Internal combustion engine vehicle




Circulation tax in Portugal


Vehicle acquisition tax in Portugal


Japanese driving cycle for emissions testing




Million tonnes of oil equivalent


New European Driving Cycle




Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development


International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers


Plug-in hybrid vehicle






Saudi Arabia


South Africa


Designation of Europe, Japan and USA used due to their impact in world economy


United States


Value-added tax



Thanks are due to Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) for the first author Phd financial support (SFRH / BD / 73416 / 2010), the Project “Assessment and development of integrated systems for electric vehicles” (MIT-Pt/EDAM SMS/0030/2008), for the last author FCT investigator development grant Program Investigator FCT IF/00181/2012 and, finally, to the strategic program LAETA-UID/EMS/50022/2013 and IDL-UID/GEO/50019/2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDMEC, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centro Algoritmi, Department of Industrial ElectronicsUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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