What Does 'The Equivalent of Taking Cars Off The Road' Really Mean?

Feb 25 2014, 7:14am CST | by

What Does 'The Equivalent of Taking Cars Off The Road' Really Mean?
Photo Credit: Forbes Auto

I saw a press release the other day heralding a new energy technology, which – if fully adopted – would take the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road.

It reminded me of a fictional acquaintance years ago who had the fictional opportunity to make an investment in renewables that would take the equivalent of 20 cars off the road. But then he found out what the price tag was, and just couldn’t swallow it. However, by then he was so enamored of the idea of ‘taking cars off the road’ that he decided to just go ahead and do it – take cars off the road.  So one night he drove to the local dealership in an ancient pickup truck. He totaled 20 cars. It was dark, so he wasn’t really paying attention to the cars he was vandalizing.  The next day, he found out he had destroyed 20 new electric vehicles, so he really only took the equivalent of about three motor scooters and an electric bike off the road.

A ridiculous tale, for sure, but it does raise a question: when you see a press release touting a renewable investment or efficiency project “taking the equivalent of x cars off the road,” what does that mean? What kind of cars are they? How old are they? How far are they going and who’s driving them?

As it turns out, there IS an answer to all of those questions (well, except for the last one). The EPA actually has a definition for avoided vehicles (currently stuck at 2010 vintage), and it assumes the following:

Passenger vehicles are defined as 2-axle 4-tire vehicles, including passenger cars, vans, pickup trucks, and sport/utility vehicles. Said vehicles have a 2010 combined weighted average fuel economy of 21.5 miles per gallon, and travel an average 11,493 miles a year.

The 2010 ratio of CO2 emissions to total greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide, all expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents) for passenger vehicles is 0.985 (EPA 2012).

The amount of CO2 emitted per gallon of gasoline is 8.92 × 10-3 metric tons, so to calculate annual greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle, the EPA divides the annual vehicle miles by average gas mileage to arrive at gallons consumed, and then multiplies by CO2 per gallon to get total CO2 emissions. These are then divided by the ratio of CO2 to total GhG emissions to arrive at the magic number: 4.8 metric tons CO2E /vehicle/year.

That’s really boring math.  What will make it more fun and challenging, though, will be as we inch closer to the Obama Administration’s Fuel Economy Standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025, which will change the basis for calculations every year.

If nobody sabotages this efficiency goal, and it actually comes to pass, press releases in 2025 could be quite different. They may look something like “New State-Wide Energy Efficiency Program Will Be The Equivalent Of Taking Three Cars Off The Road.” We can only hope.

Oh, and the next time somebody announces that a program or technology takes so many thousands of cars off the road, can we make sure they are removed from the SouthEast Expressway up to Boston to ease my commute just a little?

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
Our sister site I4U News is giving away a brand new iPad Air or if you can wait an iPad Air 2. This is an $499 value.
 
 
Your Parent Or Kid Moved In: Are You Covered?
A record 57 million Americans now live in multigenerational family households — double the number in 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And I bet many of them have the wrong homeowner’s or renters...
 
 
Pandora Looks to Challenge Terrestrial Radio's Dominance in Cars
Pandora Media is one of the largest Internet radio providers in the U.S. with more than 75 million active users. While the company’s active user count has increased at a robust pace historically, it is likely to slow...
 
 
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
It’s January 2026. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner gets out of his driverless car and triumphantly marches before the gathered press to introduce his prized new free agent. It’s a record-breaking contract—over...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

European Champions League standings
Paris, Oct 22 (IANS) Following are the European Champions League standings for Groups E to H after Tuesday's matches (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points), according to Xinhua...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Rogerio set to break Giggs world record
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is one victory away from earning his fourth Guinness World Record by eclipsing a mark held by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The 41-year-old will...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ryan Reynolds can't keep his hands off Blake Lively
Ryan Reynolds was ''really sweet'' to Blake Lively at the Angel City Ball. The couple, who got married in September 2012, made their first red carpet appearance together in New York City on Monday night (10.20.14) since...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kris Jenner doesn't know who Bruce Jenner is dating
Kris Jenner has ''no idea'' whether Bruce Jenner is dating her best friend. The 58-year-old reality TV star, who split from the Olympic gold medallist last October after 23 years of marriage, claims she doesn't know if...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
When Rihanna dressed like 'Harry Potter'
New York, Oct 22 (IANS) Singer Rihanna was spotted here in a Harry Potter style costume. She wore the wizard-like get-up while heading for a business meal here Monday, reports mirror.co.uk. The 26-year-old combined a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Germany raises humanitarian aid to Iraq
Berlin, Oct 22 (IANS) Germany has pledged a further 20 million euros (about 25.5 million dollars) in humanitarian aid to Iraq, the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. The additional funds are immediately...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
India calls on Israel, Palestine to resume peace process
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) India has called upon Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace process as "dialogue remains the only viable option" to address the issues confronting the region. In a brief statement...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Airstrikes help ground forces fight IS: Pentagon
Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Kurdish forces are in control of the majority of the Syrian city of Kobane despite efforts by the Islamic State (IS) to take the town, a spokesperson for US defence department said Tuesday....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Palestine, Israel urged at UN to halt unilateral initiatives
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Tuesday called on Palestine and Israel to overcome differences and halt unilateral initiatives that fuel mistrust, so as to pursue long-term stability in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
China urges Israel to create conditions for peace
United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) Chinese government has called on Israel to create necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks with Palestine. At an open debate of the Security Council on the situation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla