Ricardo provides technical insight to landmark fuel economy proposals

Ricardo provides technical insight to landmark fuel economy proposals
16 November 2011

Ricardo today announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Ricardo Inc., has provided independent and objective technical data and insight to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as they proposed a new national fuel economy standard for passenger cars and light trucks that will improve fuel economy and dramatically cut greenhouse gases.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to contribute our technological insights and analytical research capabilities to the development of policy in this crucial area for the U.S. automotive industry,” said Kent Niederhofer, president of Ricardo, Inc. “The proposal announced yesterday, creates a national fuel economy standard, improves fuel economy for consumers, diminishes U.S. dependency on foreign oil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Ricardo is one of very few organizations globally, that is capable of producing informed and objective analysis at this level and it is deeply gratifying to see the results of our work contributing to such important future policy recommendations.”

The Ricardo study was carried out under subcontract to Systems Research and Applications Corporation in support of that company’s contact to the EPA – led to the creation of a data visualization tool enabling policymakers to evaluate the effectiveness of differing technology packages in terms of both their respective potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their effect upon vehicle performance. DOT and EPA announced the new proposed rules yesterday. The proposed fuel economy standards will begin in 2017, with all passenger and light trucks having to reach the new fuel standards by 2025.

Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said: “These unprecedented standards are a remarkable leap forward in improving fuel efficiency, strengthening national security by reducing our dependence on oil, and protecting our climate for generations to come. We expect this programme will not only save consumers money, it will ensure automakers have the regulatory certainty they need to make key decisions that create jobs and invest in the future. We are pleased that we’ve been able to work with the auto industry, the states, and leaders in the environmental and labour communities to move toward even tougher standards for the second phase of the President’s national programme to improve fuel economy and reduce pollution.”

The technologies considered included both conventional and hybridized powertrain architectures as well as advanced concepts of engine, transmission and driveline, and other measures that could lead, for example, to reduced vehicle weight and rolling resistance.  A fundamental aspect of this work was that Ricardo focused exclusively on technologies capable of practical technical and commercial implementation within the time horizon considered by the research.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson added: "By setting a course for steady improvements in fuel economy over the long term, the Obama administration is ensuring that American car buyers have their choice of the most efficient vehicles ever produced in our country. That will save them money, reduce our nation's oil consumption and cut harmful emissions in the air we breathe. This is an important addition to the landmark clean cars programme that President Obama initiated to establish fuel economy standards more than two years ago. The progress we made with the help of the auto industry, the environmental community, consumer groups and others will be expanded upon in the years to come – benefitting the health, the environment and the economy for the American people."

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