Since the time of the Great Depression in the 1930’s fuel consumption has been in the range 10-12 km/liter, even till this day there has not been much improvement in terms of achieving a higher mileage per gallon of fuel. The technology is now becoming more and more available these days that can improve fuel efficiency of our fleets. Doubling the fuel efficiency of new cars and light trucks is the single biggest step our generation can take to reduce oil use. Other schools of thoughts are aimed at 2025, we can get there by 2025 with existing fuel-sipping technologies such as high-efficiency engines, smarter transmissions, hybrid power trains, and better aerodynamics.
The opportunity is so great because the cars and trucks we drive every day consume half the oil used in our countries. But the benefits extend well beyond oil savings: raising the bar on fuel efficiency will reduce trips to the gas pump while maintaining the performance and safety drivers expect. The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote, “Improved vehicle designs would create more options for consumers and a more competitive and resilient auto industry offering more jobs—all the while slashing demand for oil by more than 4 million barrels per day by 2035.” In my country, Zimbabwe it is estimated that commercial vehicles consume more than 23% of national fuel consumption yet they only represent about 6.3% of the vehicle fleet. Therefore it is imperative that focus be placed on these cars because improving fuel efficiency will save the country more than a million liters every month.
We all knew transportation back then in terms of horsepower, then Ford introduced the liters/gallons and very soon we are looking at the automobile industry talking about Kilowatt-hours. Electric vehicles can spark a revolution that lets drivers bypass the gas pump completely, dramatically cutting the oil our cars consume and the smog forming and global warming pollution they produce. Today it’s a dream but by mid-century, electric vehicles could nearly eliminate oil use from cars and light trucks.
On the next piece next week I want to talk about net-zero energy consumption looking at maybe bio-fuels to transform the fuel sector. Thank you.