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Fuel Economy

Fuel economy and emissions are two of the principal regulatory drivers – the third being safety, with a direct impact on the automotive industry. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations demand continuous improvements in fleet fuel economy, while the Environmental Protection Agency regulates criteria tailpipe emissions from mobile sources. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) specializes in fuel economy and exhaust emissions research that is aimed at optimizing all related systems, with expertise that spans all aspects of fuel economy (engine efficiency, powertrain hybridization, friction reduction, aerodynamics), and exhaust emissions in cylinder reduction and aftertreatment.

In addition to its research expertise, CAR also provides engineering services in support of fuel economy improvement and emissions reduction technology development, and has created an environment in which students are involved in related studies not only through sponsored research programs, but also through applied projects. The most visible example is the center’s EcoCAR team—one of sixteen teams competing in the EcoCAR 3 advanced vehicle technology competition—which showcases the research-to-real-world translation that is so common at CAR. As part of an advanced, award-winning effort, students working on the EcoCAR team engage their knowledge of automotive engineering concepts by increasing the fuel efficiency of a Chevrolet Camaro, all the while retaining its high performance qualities. Building on a 20-year history of participation in the Department of Energy’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, students continue to win awards for their application of automotive engineering knowledge to real-world solutions.

Click through the side bar to learn more about the specialized areas of knowledge—and application—that CAR researchers delve into every day.