Cost of Ownership and Well-to-Wheels Carbon Emissions/Oil Use of Alternative Fuels and Advanced Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies

Amgad Elgowainy, Aymeric Rousseau, Michael Wang, Mark Ruth, Dave Andress, Jake Ward, Fred Joseck, Tien Nguyen, Sujit Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus Citations


The use of alternative fuels and advanced light-duty vehicle (LDV) technologies is gaining momentum worldwide in order to reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has developed technical and cost targets at the component level for several advanced LDV technologies such as plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles as well as cost targets for low-carbon fuels. DOE, Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently updated their analysis of well-to-wheels (WTW) greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, petroleum use, and the cost of ownership of vehicle technologies that have the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions and petroleum consumption. A comprehensive assessment of how these alternative fuels and vehicle technologies options could cost-effectively meet the future carbon emissions and oil consumption targets has been conducted. This paper estimates the ownership cost and the potential reduction of WTW carbon emissions and oil consumption associated with alternative fuels and advanced LDV technologies. Efficient LDVs and low-carbon fuels can contribute to a substantial reduction in GHG emissions from the current 200-230. g/km for typical compact (small family) size diesel and gasoline vehicles. With RD&D success, the ownership costs of various advanced powertrains deployed in the 2035 time frame will likely converge, thus enhancing the probability of their market penetration. To attain market success, it is necessary that public and private sectors coordinate RD&D investments and incentive programs aiming at both reducing the cost of advanced vehicle technologies and establishing required fuel infrastructures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)626-641
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A00-61221


  • Advanced vehicle technologies
  • Alternative fuel pathways
  • Cost of ownership
  • Fuel economy of light-duty vehicle
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Well-to-wheels


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