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Comparison of MDHD Vehicles

The 2022 Transportation Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) provides current and future projections of cost and performance for representative medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The charts on this comparison page show trajectories out to 2050 for:

  • Fuel economy, which is reported in miles per gallon gasoline equivalent and represents how efficiently a vehicle converts fuel during operation
  • Modeled vehicle price, which represents an estimated cost to the consumer for purchase of a new vehicle, which includes manufacturing costs and profit
  • Levelized cost of driving, which is an indicator of the cost of operation over lifetime on a per-mile basis; it includes vehicle, fuel, and maintenance.
  • CO2e emissions, is a metric that incorporates both the fuel emissions and the vehicle fuel economy.

These charts draw from a subset of fuels documented in the Transportation ATB. The full set of data can be downloaded and explored. In addition, each individual powertrain can be explored.

Estimates are provided for multiple powertrains, including fully commercial and early commercial technologies. Each powertrain has unique features and attributes, and each offers distinct advantages and has distinct limitations.

Examples of factors that influence purchase decisions but are not directly captured in the metrics on this site are the:

  • Type of operation and duty cycle that may make a certain powertrain or fuel type more or less amenable to adoption
  • Durability and reliability of a technology and the convenience of maintenance and repairs
  • Convenience of fueling (e.g., when and where vehicles can be charged or filled, the time that it takes to charge or fill, and the frequency with which a vehicle must be charged or filled)
  • Availability of make and models meeting specialty needs or preferences
  • Impact of advanced driving features (e.g., autonomous driving capability).

Therefore, use caution in interpreting comparisons. No single metric is sufficient to compare the values 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.

Fuel Economy and Modeled Vehicle Price

The following chart compares fuel economy by powertrain for trajectories over time.

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.

Levelized Cost of Driving and CO2e Emissions

The following chart compares levelized cost of driving (LCOD) by powertrain for trajectories over time for the selected fuel. Use the filters on the right to change the comparison metric, vehicle, or fuel setting. Click on a scenario name in the legend to change the scenarios displayed.

In these LCOD charts for MDHD vehicles, for both BEVs and FCEVs, we show LCOD bands that include uncertainty and variation in fuel delivery costs for zero-emission vehicles (MDHD EV charging and hydrogen dispensing). These LCOD bands incorporate scenarios of different utilization, electric power demand charges, equipment costs, charging powers/fueling rates, and business models. In each calculated LCOD for each fuel pathway, the ATB combines these variations on delivery costs with its estimate of bulk energy price (electricity and hydrogen at production gate), for consistency. See the Electricity and Hydrogen pages for additional details of EV charging and hydrogen fueling costs.

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 vehicle, fuel, and maintenance costs only; it 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 and models. Hydrogen fuel prices include IRA 45V credits of up to $3/kg. Other fuel prices do not include IRA credits.
  • Changes over time are attributable only to projected modeled vehicle price and performance; the fuel cost and emissions are constant over time.
  • No single metric is sufficient to fully compare the values of different powertrains for all uses.

Key Assumptions

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 Volume: The alternative fuel vehicle markets are less mature than those for internal combustion engine vehicles; therefore, comparisons of the costs of these powertrains are complex. As production increases, greater economies of scale are expected to bring current, low-volume costs closer to the high-volume cost trajectories. With the exception of fuel cell electric vehicles, all powertrains depicted in the ATB are produced at sufficiently high production volume today to achieve costs reflecting economies of scale. Although MDHD PHEVs and BEVs are not currently produced at high volume, we assume learning and scale from light-duty vehicle manufacturing of electric drivetrain components, which are produced at high volume, lead to at-scale manufacturing costs for MDHD PHEVs and BEVs. However, we note that for MDHD PHEVs and BEVs, battery performance, durability, and warranty requirements may imply differences in prices of EV component costs for MDHD EVs and LD EVs. See the powertrain specific pages for details about ATB's cost trajectory estimates.
  • Powertrain Comparisons: The Transportation ATB does not include all factors that determine the value of each vehicle technology to each user and 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 representative vehicles in medium- and heavy-duty classes; we do not account for variations in make, model, and trim, body style, 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.
  • Selected Fuel Pathways: The levelized cost of driving (LCOD) and emissions estimates shown here are calculated with three sets of fuels: baseline fuellowest 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 current Transportation ATB. For battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the baseline fuel pathway for electricity is based on PEV charging assumptions with electricity prices based on the average current national grid mix (see the Electricity page) and a range of low and high values due to uncertainty in equipment utilization and charge management. The lowest cost fuel price for electricity is only slightly lower than the baseline fuel pathway 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 the fuels references. References for petro- and bio-based diesel include (EIA, 2020)(EIA, 2021)(DOE, 2020)(Tao et al., 2017)(Tan et al., 2021)(Wang et al., 2022)(Xie et al., 2011), and (Xu et al., 2022). References for electricity include  (EIA, 2022)(EIA, 2021)(EIA, 2018), 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:


Fuel economy

Levelized cost of driving


Modeled Vehicle Price

Vehicle Range


The following references are specific to this page; for all references in this ATB, see References.

Islam, Ehsan Sabri, Ram Vijayagopal, Benjamin Dupont, Namdoo Kim, Ayman Moawad, Daniela Nieto Prada, and Aymeric Rousseau. “A Comprehensive Simulation Study to Evaluate Future Vehicle Energy and Cost Reduction Potential.” Report to the US Department of Energy. Argonne National Laboratory, June 2022.

Wang, Michael, Amgad Elgowainy, Uisung Lee, Kwang Hoon Baek, Adarsh Bafana, Pahola Thathiana Benavides, Andrew Burnham, et al. “Summary of Expansions and Updates in GREET® 2022.” Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States), October 1, 2022.

NRC. “Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels.” National Research Council, March 18, 2013.

Browne, David, Margaret O’Mahony, and Brian Caulfield. “How Should Barriers to Alternative Fuels and Vehicles Be Classified and Potential Policies to Promote Innovative Technologies Be Evaluated?” Journal of Cleaner Production 35 (November 1, 2012): 140–51.

Stephens, Thomas S., Rebecca S. Levinson, Aaron Brooker, Changzheng Liu, Zhenhong Lin, Alicia Birky, and Eleftheria Kontou. “Comparison of Vehicle Choice Models.” Argonne, IL (United States): Argonne National Laboratory, October 31, 2017.

EIA. “U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Retail Prices,” July 13, 2020.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2021.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration, February 2021.

DOE. “Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report, October 2020,” 2020.

Tao, Ling, Anelia Milbrandt, Yanan Zhang, and Wei-Cheng Wang. “Techno-Economic and Resource Analysis of Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet Fuel.” Biotechnology for Biofuels 10, no. 1 (November 9, 2017): 261.

Tan, Eric C. D., Troy R. Hawkins, Uisung Lee, Ling Tao, Pimphan A. Meyer, Michael Wang, and Tom Thompson. “Biofuel Options for Marine Applications: Technoeconomic and Life-Cycle Analyses.” Environmental Science & Technology 55, no. 11 (June 1, 2021): 7561–70.

Xie, Xiaomin, Michael Wang, and Jeongwoo Han. “Assessment of Fuel-Cycle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Fischer−Tropsch Diesel from Coal and Cellulosic Biomass.” Environmental Science & Technology 45, no. 7 (April 1, 2011): 3047–53.

Xu, Hui, Longwen Ou, Yuan Li, Troy R. Hawkins, and Michael Wang. “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Production in the United States.” Environmental Science & Technology 56, no. 12 (June 21, 2022): 7512–21.

EIA. “Electricity Data Browser,” 2022.

EIA. “Annual Energy Outlook 2018.” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2018.

Baronas, Jean, and Belinda Chen. “Joint Agency Staff Report on Assembly Bill 8: 2021 Annual Assessment of Time and Cost Needed to Attain 100 Hydrogen Refueling Stations in California.” CEC, December 2021.

Collins, Elizabeth, and Matthew Post. “Orange County Transportation Authority Fuel Cell Electric Bus Progress Report.” NREL, July 2022a.

Collins, Elizabeth, and Matthew Post. “SunLine Transit Agency Fuel Cell Electric Bus Progress Report.” NREL, July 2022b.

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