Estimated Bounds and Important Factors for Fuel Use and Consumer Costs of Connected and Automated Vehicles

Jeffrey Gonder, T.S. Stephens, Z. Lin, C. Liu, D. Gohlke, Yuche Chen

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This report details a study of the potential effects of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies on vehicle miles traveled (VMT), vehicle fuel efficiency, and consumer costs. Related analyses focused on a range of light-duty CAV technologies in conventional powertrain vehicles -- from partial automation to full automation, with and without ridesharing -- compared to today's base-case scenario. Analysis results revealed widely disparate upper- and lower-bound estimates for fuel use and VMT, ranging from a tripling of fuel use to decreasing light-duty fuel use to below 40% of today's level. This wide range reflects uncertainties in the ways that CAV technologies can influence vehicle efficiency and use through changes in vehicle designs, driving habits, and travel behavior. The report further identifies the most significant potential impacting factors, the largest areas of uncertainty, and where further research is particularly needed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages58
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-67216


  • CAV
  • connected and automated vehicle technologies
  • connectivity
  • consumer costs
  • driver assistance
  • energy impacts
  • fuel consumption
  • fuel efficiency
  • fuel use
  • fuel use
  • full automation
  • GHG
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • LDV
  • light-duty vehicles
  • operating costs
  • partial automation
  • rideshare
  • vehicle automation
  • vehicle miles traveled
  • VMT


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