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Energies 2012, 5(3), 605-620; doi:10.3390/en5030605

Life Cycle Assessment of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Advanced Vehicles

Department of Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Geology, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513, USA
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Received: 23 January 2012 / Revised: 1 March 2012 / Accepted: 1 March 2012 / Published: 6 March 2012
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Abstract

Many advanced vehicle technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), are gaining attention throughout the World due to their capability to improve fuel efficiencies and emissions. When evaluating the operational successes of these new fuel-efficient vehicles, it is essential to consider energy usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the entire lifetimes of the vehicles, which are comprised of two independent cycles: a fuel cycle and a vehicle cycle. This paper intends to contribute to the assessment of the environmental impacts from the alternative technologies throughout the lifetimes of various advanced vehicles through objective comparisons. The methodology was applied to six commercial vehicles that are available in the U.S. and that have similar dimensions and performances. We also investigated the shifts in energy consumption and emissions through the use of electricity and drivers’ behavior regarding the frequencies of battery recharging for EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). This study thus gives insight into the impacts of the electricity grid on the total energy cycle of a vehicle lifetime. In addition, the total ownership costs of the selected vehicles were examined, including considerations of the fluctuating gasoline prices. The cost analysis provides a resource for drivers to identify optimal choices for their driving circumstances. View Full-Text
Keywords: life cycle assessment; greenhouse gas emissions; energy consumption; economic impacts; advanced vehicle technologies life cycle assessment; greenhouse gas emissions; energy consumption; economic impacts; advanced vehicle technologies
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gao, L.; Winfield, Z.C. Life Cycle Assessment of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Advanced Vehicles. Energies 2012, 5, 605-620.

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