This study details vehicle characteristics, technology adoption, and energy consumption for passenger vehicles – automobiles, sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and minivans – sold in Brazil in 2013. It examines the adoption of vehicle efficiency technologies, estimates their aggregate impact on vehicle energy consumption, and compares the Brazilian fleet to national vehicle fleets in the world’s major vehicle markets – the European Union, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States – in terms of technology adoption and energy consumption.
This analysis shows that Brazil lags behind most other vehicle markets in the adoption of fuel-saving technologies, although the market penetration of these technologies appears to be increasing over time. A higher rate of adoption of vehicle efficiency technologies could have a significant impact in the Brazilian market. For example, the combination of gasoline direct injection, turbocharging, and downsizing can reduce fuel consumption up to 15%. Hybrid systems can achieve substantially larger savings in energy consumption, between 20% and 50% for similar-sized vehicles.
In comparison to countries with vehicles of similar and even higher average weight, Brazil has relatively inefficient vehicles. The average Brazilian vehicle consumes about 18% more energy than the average vehicle in Japan, even though Brazilian vehicles are, on average, 8% lighter than the average Japanese car. More widespread use of fuel-efficiency technologies in Japan, such as three-cylinder engines, variable valve actuation, dual overhead camshafts, and advanced transmissions, as well as the large share of the Japanese market captured by gasoline hybrids, account for the difference,. European vehicles also perform better, despite weighing more than vehicles in all other countries except the U.S. and South Korea.
Because of the wide gap between Brazil and other major vehicle markets, there is significant potential for the introduction of energy-saving technologies and considerable reductions in vehicle energy consumption.