Comparison of LD Vehicles
The 2022 Transportation Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) provides current and future projections of cost and performance for select light-duty vehicles.
The charts on this page show trajectories out to 2050 for:
- Fuel economy, which is reported in miles per gallon gasoline equivalent and represent how efficiently a vehicle converts fuel during operation
- Modeled vehicle price, which represent an estimated cost to the consumer for purchase of a new vehicle, including manufacturing costs and profit
- Levelized cost of driving, which is an indicator of the cost of operation over lifetime on a per-mile basis
- Includes initial costs for the vehicle, fuel costs, and, if applicable, residential charger equipment and installation
- Does not include other operation or maintenance costs beyond fuel.
- CO2e emissions, a metric that incorporates both the fuel emissions and the vehicle fuel economy.
These charts draw from a subset of fuels documented in the 2022 Transportation ATB. The full set of data can be downloaded and explored. In addition, each powertrain can be explored individually.
Estimates are provided for multiple powertrains, including fully commercial and early commercial technologies, and all results correspond to high production volume. Each powertrain has unique features and attributes, and each offers distinct advantages and has distinct limitations.
Examples of features that influence consumer decisions but are not captured in the cost metrics on this site are the:
- Convenience of fueling (e.g., where vehicles can be charged or filled, the time it takes to charge or fill, and the frequency with which a vehicle must be charged or filled)
- Availability of make and models
- Impact that advanced driving features (e.g., autonomous driving capability) would have on the cost of each powertrain.
Therefore, use caution in interpreting comparisons. No single metric is sufficient to compare the value of different powertrains for all uses. Not all estimates are developed with the same methods, making comparisons more difficult. Different powertrains are at different stages of commercialization and production volume, which influences cost and performance estimates.
Vehicle Metrics: Fuel Economy and Modeled Vehicle Price
The chart below shows two metrics associated with the vehicle:
- fuel economy represents how efficiently a vehicle converts fuel during operation.
- Modeled vehicle price represents an estimated cost to the consumer to purchase a new vehicle, based on modeling that includes manufacturing costs and profit.
The source of the 2022 Transportation ATB modeled vehicle price and fuel economy is the Argonne National Laboratory report (Islam et al., 2022); the original data are available here. These data are developed using ANL's Autonomie simulation tool.
Select the data to display using the menus above the chart. Use the Metric filter to switch between fuel economy and modeled vehicle price data. Select the vehicle class, powertrain, and other powertrain details using the additional filters.
Vehicle and Fuel Metrics: Levelized Cost of Driving and CO2e Emissions
The chart below shows levelized cost of driving and CO2e emissions, in addition to the associated fuel data. Levelized cost of driving is a metric that combines modeled vehicle price, fuel economy, fuel cost, and other assumptions for the selected fuel. CO2e emissions represents the emissions for the fuel well-to-wheels portion of the life cycle for the selected fuel. Emissions associated with vehicle life cycles are not included here.
These calculations use data from Argonne National Laboratory, which develops and applies the Autonomie simulation tool and GREET model (Wang et al., 2022). Links to data from the Argonne National Laboratory report (Islam et al., 2022) on modeled vehicle price and fuel economy are available here.
Select the data to display using the buttons and menus to the above the chart. Use the Metric filter to switch between levelized cost of driving and CO2e emissions data. Select the pathway, scenario, vehicle class, powertrain and powertrain details using the additional filters. Clicking the black arrows on the top right of the figure shows additional details of the selected fuel pathways. The underlying source for a data point in the chart can be seen by placing your mouse cursor over that data point. The data sources are also cited—with hyperlinked linked references—in the Key Assumptions section below.
- The levelized cost of driving includes initial costs for the vehicle, fuel costs, and, if applicable, residential charger equipment and installation. It does not include other operation or maintenance costs beyond fuel, or insurance. Hydrogen fuel prices include IRA 45V credits of up to $3/kg. Other fuel prices do not include IRA credits.
- The levelized cost of driving does not depict other variables that influence consumer decisions, such as convenience (e.g., fill time, frequency, and location), driving experience and consumer preference, and availability of make/models.
- No single metric is sufficient to fully compare the value of different powertrains for all uses.
- Changes over time are attributable only to projected modeled vehicle price and performance; the fuel cost and emissions are constant over time based on the selected fuel.
- The Fuel Pathway filter displays the selected fuel pathways for the Baseline Fuel, Lowest Cost Fuel, and Lowest CO2e Emissions Fuel. The full set of fuel pathways is available in the data download.
The data and estimates presented here are based on the following key assumptions:
- Technology Advances: Technology advances include changes that may reduce costs or may increase costs while improving performance, which implies costs do not always decline between less-advanced and more-advanced scenarios. However, while technology advancements that improve performance may increase vehicle cost, they may also result in a lower levelized cost of driving due to potential fuel savings.
- Production Volumes: The alternative fuel vehicle markets are less mature than those for internal combustion engine and hybrid electric vehicles; therefore, comparisons of these powertrains are complex. With the exception of fuel cell electric vehicles, all other powertrains depicted in the ATB are produced at high production volume today. Fuel cell electric vehicles are currently manufactured at low volumes, and are available for sale or lease in the United States for approximately $58,300 or $379–$389/month. Today, the purchase or lease of the vehicle commonly includes access to hydrogen fuel for free for up to 3 years or $13,000–$15,000 (Honda, 2020); (Hyundai, 2020); (Baronas and Achtelik, 2019). As production increases, greater economies of scale are expected to bring current, low-volume costs closer to the high-volume ATB trajectories. See the powertrain specific pages listed on the left (and in the Technologies drop-down menu on the top of the page) for details about trajectory estimates.
- Powertrain Comparisons: The Transportation ATB does not include all factors that determine the value of each vehicle technology to each user or for each application. Comparisons of the powertrain technologies presented here should be made with caution because their different attributes offer value across many dimensions with metrics that are not available here. Transportation ATB trajectories cover cost, fuel economy, and emissions, but various other factors influence vehicle adoption. For example, driving range, fueling availability and convenience, and driving experience may all affect a consumer's attitude toward a technology. For more discussion of powertrain comparisons, see National Research Council (NRC, 2013), Browne et al. (Browne et al., 2012), and Stephens et al. (Stephens et al., 2017).
- Vehicle Variations: The Transportation ATB presents estimates for a representative, single size of light-duty vehicle (midsize); we do not account for variations in make, model, and trim or for pricing incentives or geographic heterogeneity that influence prices in the market. As a result, representative values shown here may differ from specific models available on the market.
- Fuel Economy Improvements: The assumptions about fuel economy improvements reflect adoption of lightweighting and engine efficiency technologies consistently across vehicle powertrains for a given trajectory.
- Vehicle Range: The vehicle ranges shown represent the adjusted real-world, on-road estimated driving range. The range is based on 55% city and 45% highway driving, using the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule and Highway Fuel Economy Test drive cycles respectively. For battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), this represents the all-electric (charge-depleting) range. Range can be an important determinant of cost for PHEVs, BEVs, and fuel cell electric vehicles, with longer ranges requiring higher-cost fuel storage systems (i.e., batteries or hydrogen storage tanks). Based on data from the National Household Travel Survey, 95% of U.S. vehicle trips are less than 31 miles (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2019).
- Utility Factor-Weighted Average: The fuel economy shown for the PHEV is the utility factor-weighted average. This refers to the weighting of the fuel economy by the share of mileage powered by electricity versus the share of mileage powered by liquid fuel to calculate the average electricity and liquid fuel consumption across charge-depleting and charge-sustaining modes.
- Selected Fuel Pathways: The levelized cost of driving (LCOD) and emissions estimates shown here are calculated with three sets of fuels (baseline fuel, lowest cost fuel, and lowest CO2e emissions fuel) for each powertrain (see selected fuel pathways). Select Lowest Cost or Lowest Emissions to display those selected fuel pathways and see the respective Fuels pages for the entire set of fuels data that can be downloaded for exploration.
- Baseline and Lowest Cost Fuel: The baseline fuel and lowest cost fuel are equivalent for gasoline and diesel vehicles. Current market prices for E10 gasoline with starch ethanol and diesel are used for the baseline fuel; future prices are expected to increase with oil prices, and biofuel blends are currently estimated at higher costs, resulting in current market prices to also be the lowest cost fuel in the 2022 Transportation ATB. For battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the baseline fuel for electricity is based on plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging assumptions with the current national grid mix and electricity prices (see the Electricity page). The lowest cost fuel price for electricity is only slightly lower than the baseline fuel and corresponds to the future low renewable energy penetration grid mix, which assumes lower natural gas prices. For hydrogen, technology advancements and scale are assumed to reduce hydrogen prices; therefore, the baseline fuel and lowest cost fuel prices are more distinct.
- Frozen Fuel Price Level: The fuel price and emissions of the selected fuel pathways (e.g., Baseline, Lowest Cost, and Lowest Emissions) are associated with a single year. Because we do not provide a time-series trajectory, here we show fuel price at a frozen level for all years so we can offer a range of fuel price values. In the levelized cost of driving and emissions charts, this approach clearly distinguishes effects of fuels from those of vehicle technologies, because fuels remain constant while vehicle technologies change over time.
- Fuels References: See fuels and blendstock pages, for a full description of fuels references. References for ethanol include (EIA, 2021), (Elgowainy et al., 2016), (Dutta et al., 2011), (Wang et al., 2022), (Lee et al., 2021), (Humbird et al., 2011), (Tao et al., 2014), and (Dunn et al., 2013). References for BOB include (EIA, 2020), (EIA, 2021) , and (Wang et al., 2022). References for petro- and bio-based diesel include (EIA, 2020), (EIA, 2021), (DOE, 2020a), (Tao et al., 2017), (Tan et al., 2021), (Wang et al., 2022), (Xie et al., 2011), and (Xu et al., 2022). References for natural gas include (DOE, 2020b), (DOE, 2021), and (Wang et al., 2022). References for electricity include (EIA, 2021), (EIA, 2018), (EIA, 2022), and (Wang et al., 2022). References for hydrogen include (Baronas and Chen, 2021), (Collins and Post, 2022a), (Collins and Post, 2022b), (DOE, 2023), and (Wang et al., 2022).
- Taxes: Fuel prices include taxes for all fuels that are currently taxed (e.g., gasoline). We do not include taxes for fuels that are not taxed for transportation today (e.g., electricity and hydrogen).
- LCOD: See the LCOD definition for details about this calculation.
- Well-to-Wheels Emissions: See the well-to-wheels emissions definition for additional discussion on the fuel and vehicle emissions.
For detailed definitions, see:
The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.