An Analysis of Possible Energy Impacts of Automated Vehicles

Part of the Lecture Notes in Mobility book series (LNMOB)


Automated vehicles (AVs) are increasingly recognized as having the potential to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and petroleum consumption through mechanisms such as improved efficiency, better routing, and lower traffic congestion, and by enabling advanced technologies. However, AVs also have the potential to increase fuel consumption through effects such as longer distances traveled, increased use of transportation by underserved groups, and increased travel speeds. Here we collect available estimates for many potential effects and use a modified Kaya Identity approach to estimate the overall range of possible effects. Depending on the specific effects that come to pass, widespread AV deployment can lead to dramatic fuel savings, but has the potential for unintended consequences.


Automation Autonomous Self-driving Energy Petroleum Platooning Smart routing Electrification Car sharing 



We would like to thank Paul Leiby, Don Mackenzie, Zia Wadud, Bill Morrow, Andrew Sturges, Jake Ward, and Levi Tillemann for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Renewable Energy LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.National Renewable Energy LaboratoryGoldenUSA
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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