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Automated vehicles likely to increase global energy consumption

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Automated driving car

Impacts of automated driving systems on fuel consumption will be mixed, due to a shift from public transit to light duty vehicles

A new report from Navigant Research highlights how emerging automated mobility systems are expected to affect regional transportation fuel consumption during the next two decades, with global forecasts for light duty vehicle (LDV) and medium and heavy duty vehicle (MHDV) consumption, segmented by region, fuel, and scenario, through 2035.

Developments in vehicle electrification, connectivity, and shared and automated driving are creating potential for innovative new business models in transportation services.

However, the effects of these automated systems on fuel consumption will vary by region, with some experiencing greater use of passenger travel through LDVs, running counter to policies that displace oil as the leading transportation energy resource.

“In certain markets, automated driving systems promise to pull demand away from energy efficient public transit options to less efficient passenger car travel. The result is likely increased transportation sector energy consumption unless concerted efforts are made to tie vehicle automation to electrification,” said Scott Shepard, senior research analyst with Navigant Research.

In markets with a high dependence on LDVs for personal travel, however, automated mobility systems are expected to reduce energy consumption. According to the report, vehicle efficiencies borne from automated technologies are expected to mitigate system inefficiencies created from displacing public transit systems.

The report, Market Data: Global Fuels Consumption, provides an update to Navigant Research’s Global Fuels Consumption model, with a focus on how emerging AMSs may affect regional fuels markets.

The study assesses the potential impacts to the fuels markets through four scenarios of AMS penetration (no adoption, low, mid, and high).

Global forecasts for road fuel consumption for LDVs and medium and heavy duty vehicles (MHDVs), segmented by region, fuel, and scenario, extend through 2035.

Although this report focuses on the effects of automated technologies on passenger vehicle energy consumption, forecasts also include the fuel consumption of goods vehicles.

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