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

Innovation Direct to Spearhead Marketing and Licensing Campaign for Versa Trailer Invention
South Miami, FL, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- An innovative and effective new product designed to serve as an essential accessory to motorcycle owners, the Versa Trailer, has been developed by William Haworth of...
 
 
Anchor Auto Body Wins Fifth Consecutive Talk of the Town Award
Bay Area auto repair shop wins five straight Talk of the Town Customer Satisfaction Awards for receiving high customer satisfaction ratings.
 
 
Nearly Fifty Percent of Drivers Unfamiliar with Vehicle Warning Signals
As summer approaches and road trip planning begins, it is more important than ever for drivers to be familiar with their vehicle and the systems put in place to warn them of potential danger.
 
 
Best Of FORBES: Amazon-HBO Deal And Should Amgen Break Itself Up?
FORBES hosted a Twitter Chat on Wednesday with author and contributor Micheline Maynard. She answered reader’s questions on the American auto industry. Read the recap here and check out her new e-book, Curbing Cars: ...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Is Bouygues Crying Uncle On Alstom? GE Said In Talks For $13B Acquisition.
In February, French billionaire Martin Bouygues said his eponymous conglomerate was still “comfortable” with its 29% stake in Alstom SA, despite having just booked a $1.9 billion write-down on the train and power...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Hong Kong Billionaire Lawrence Ho's Summit Ascent Boosts Stake In Russian Casino
Summit Ascent Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company led by billionaire Lawrence Ho, has obtained majority control in of a casino project in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. Summit Ascent will pay $20.2 million...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Facebook Sets Its Sights On Your 'Private Content'
The first quarter of 2014 was a big one for Facebook, in more ways than one. It bought the messenging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. It spent another $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, the maker of virtual-reality headsets...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Activision Announces 'Skylanders Trap Team'
The next video game in the blockbuster Skylanders franchise is Skylanders Trap Team, publisher Activision announced on Wednesday. Due for release on October 5th, the new game flips the franchise’s paradigm by allowing...
Read more on Business Balla
 
To Succeed In Innovation, Avoid Extremes
When Scott Anthony talks about innovation people listen. This is, after all, the man who is managing partner of Innosight, the consulting firm founded by Clay Christensen, and author or co-author of a string of books,...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Piketty's Capital Shortcomings
Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century argues that CEO pay is too high and income taxes should be raised to compensate for capital returns that are greater than overall economic growth. Without...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Apple's iPad Rules The Enterprise. So When's The Second Act?
Apple's iPad is a fixture in the enterprise market, the company is proud to say. During the investor call for its second quarterly earnings Apple CEO Tim Cook noted–as he has in previous earnings calls–that 98% of the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Employers Will Google You: 6 Steps to Improve Your Online Image
If you’re interviewing with a company that is in the least bit reputable, that hiring manager is going to Google your name.  Now, unless your name is Marie Smith, the good news is that you can indirectly communicate...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Newmont's Merger Talks With Barrick Is Driven By Fear Of A Lower Gold Price
Billed as a way of creating value for investors the proposal to create a gold-mining giant by merging Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold is really an admission by both companies that they are not optimistic about the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Making a Splash with an Above Ground Pool on Designing Spaces™ Airing on Lifetime®
Pompano Beach, FL, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- The popular home improvement show Designing Spaces&#8482; will give viewers an in-depth look at how an above ground pool is quick to install and easy to maintain on...
Read more on TV Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla