Estimations of reductions in household vehicle miles traveled under scenarios of shifts in vehicle type choice
Vehicle type choice is a significant determinant of fuel consumption and energy sustainability; larger, heavier vehicles consume more fuel, and expel twice as many pollutants, than their smaller, lighter counterparts. Over the course of the past few decades, vehicle type choice has seen a vast shift, due to many households making more trips in larger vehicles with lower fuel economy. During the 1990s, SUVs were the fastest growing segment of the automotive industry, comprising 7% of the total light vehicle market in 1990, and 25% in 2005. More recently, due to rising oil prices, greater awareness to environmental sensitivity, the desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and the availability of new vehicle technologies, many households are considering the use of newer vehicles with better fuel economy, such as hybrids and electric vehicles, over the use of the SUV or low fuel economy vehicles they may already own. The goal of this research is to examine how vehicle miles traveled, fuel consumption and emissions may be reduced through shifts in vehicle type choice behavior. Using the 2009 National Household Travel Survey data it is possible to develop a model to estimate household travel demand and total fuel consumption. If given a vehicle choice shift scenario, using the model it would be possible to calculate the potential fuel consumption savings that would result from such a shift. In this way, it is possible to estimate fuel consumption reductions that would take place under a wide variety of scenarios.