8.      Light-duty road passenger transport

This category includes passenger vehicles up to nine persons per vehicle and 3.5 tons of gross vehicle weight (IEA  2012a). Most of the GHG emissions in this sector are caused by combustion of fossil fuels either directly in an internal combustion engine, or indirectly through the generation of electricity in electric vehicles.


8.1.  Activity level

The transport sector will grow significantly by 2050 in terms of revenue passenger kilometers, especially in non-OECD regions, where increasing wealth is driving motorization. In 2010, the revenue passenger kilometers of light-road passenger vehicles were almost 28 trillion. In 2050, it is expected to increase to 50 trillion revenue passenger kilometers, an increase of roughly 79 percent.


8.2.  Emission reduction potential

The CO2 emissions from the use of light-duty vehicles were just below 2.9 Gt in 2010 and are targeted to decrease to 1.2 Gt in 2050, a decrease of roughly 58 percent. This decrease is in line with the 60 percent reduction potential decrease from  2010 to 2050 estimated by the IPCC (IPCC 2014a). A wide range of reduction technologies are available (e.g. hybrid drive trains, increased aerodynamics, weight reduction, fuel cell vehicles, biofuels, eco-driving, full electric battery vehicles) (IPCC 2014a). To help unlock this potential, IEA describes three reduction strategies in the IEA ETP 2014 2DS scenario: avoid, shift, and improve. Avoid slows individual travel growth via city planning and demand management. Shift enables people and business to shift to more efficient modes, such as rail. Improve encourages the adoption of new technologies and fuels.

8.3.  Carbon intensity pathway

Figure I.8 shows the absolute emissions from light-duty vehicle use first having a small increase of 4 percent up to 2015 due to increased activity. In 2050, the emissions are modeled to decline to 42 percent of 2010 levels. This means that the intensity in 2050 needs to be 76 percent  lower than in 2010 to remain in line with this sector’s 2oC decarbonization pathway.



Figure I.8 Cars and light trucks will continue growth in activity, but need to reduce carbon intensity by 76 percent by 2050

Source: based on IEA (2014).