There are more cars on the road than ever before, but CO2 emissions in the U.S. have been steadily declining over the past decade, with 2016 energy-related CO2 emissions 14% below 2005 levels. Although this may seem contradictory, there is a very real reason for this decline in emissions — fuel efficiency technologies.
In 2016, fuel economy rose to an all-time high of 24.8 miles per gallon average and has resulted in the prevention of 130 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to a year’s worth of electricity use for 20 million homes.
These improvements are thanks in part, to engineers redesigning vehicles with such fuel-efficiency innovations as gasoline direct injection engines paired with turbocharging, which results in smaller engines that burn less gas while retaining power. Transmissions with more gears (as many as 10) and continuously variable transmissions help the vehicles operate more efficiently. Lighter materials, such as aluminum and high-strength steel, cut down on fuel use as well. Smaller technical improvements also help make a difference, including better tires and air-conditioning systems, glazed windows to keep out heat, and idle stop-start systems that turn the engine off when a vehicle is standing still.
Honeywell and Volkswagen are leading the pack in these technologies and have partnered to create a new technology that can improve fuel economy by up to 15%.
Honeywell received a 2017 Automotive News Premier Automotive Suppliers’ Contribution to Excellence (PACE) “Innovation Partnership Award” with VW for the unique level of collaboration demonstrated in developing their Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT) turbocharger for gasoline engines, that helps VW achieve best-in-class fuel economy in a cost-effective manner suited for high-volume production vehicles.
The first launch for this new generation of fuel efficient gasoline engines took place in 2016 with many more set to follow in the next three years.