Modeling the Impact of Reducing Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions with High Compression Engines and High Octane Low Carbon Fuels

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-0906

  • 2017-03-28
This paper evaluates the costs and emission benefits of using a high octane low carbon (HOLC) gasoline – ethanol blend fuel together with high compression ratio engines, to comply with 2022 – 2025 model year tailpipe greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards using the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) OMEGA model. In July 2016, EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) to review the feasibility of and progress toward meeting these standards. EPA estimated that meeting the 2022-2025 model year standards would increase the cost of the average 2025 model year vehicle relative to the 2022 model year by $894 while reducing GHG emissions by 540 million metric tons. Although many vehicle and engine technologies were evaluated in determining these GHG emission standards, one strategy -- a high octane fuel coupled with increased engine compression ratio on current ported fuel injected and gasoline direct injection vehicles – was omitted. The TAR did evaluate higher compression ratios, but only in the context of current gasoline blend octane levels. The authors obtained the US EPA OMEGA model, and with the agency’s cooperation, successfully duplicated the results published in the TAR. Then the inputs were modified, adding HOLC fuel and high compression engines and assuming the same tailpipe GHG standards used by EPA, thus keeping the emission reductions of the overall 2022-2025 GHG standards the same. Results of incorporating higher compression ratios enabled by an increased octane mid-level ethanol blend fuel show significant reductions in overall costs of the GHG standards to the public.
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