Development of Integrated Vehicle and Fuel Scenarios for Low Carbon U.S. Transportation Futures

Development of Integrated Vehicle and Fuel Scenarios for Low Carbon U.S. Transportation Futures

This project sought to better understand the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction potential of the U.S. transportation sector, with a focus on advanced vehicle technologies including zero emission vehicles and low-carbon, alternative fuels. The researchers analyzed a range of potential transition scenarios toward low-carbon transportation futures in the United States, exploring how policies and technology assumptions impact vehicle, fuel infrastructure, and resource requirements and costs. The analysis was carried out through development of a national level U.S. energy economic optimization model (US-TIMES), employing the widely-used MARKAL/TIMES framework. The model (1) provided detailed representation of all major transportation subsectors at a disaggregated level (light-duty, medium and heavy-duty, rail, marine, aviation and off-road); (2) focused model development on investments in both vehicles and fuel infrastructure; (3) assessed capital and operating costs of vehicle technologies and fuel infrastructure; and (4) used an integrated model to understand important linkages/synergies between the transport and other energy sectors. These models are useful for analyzing cross-sectoral policies like carbon caps and cross-sectoral energy issues like resource competition (e.g., biomass) and synergies (e.g., charging of electric vehicles). This initial analysis with the US-TIMES model shows how an energy system model can be used to analyze the role of vehicle technologies and fuels within a national energy system like that of the United States.

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