US passenger car segment leads rising fuel economy standards

25 February 2011 19:00  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The US passenger car segment will bring about improved fuel economy and emission controls, an industry executive said on Friday.

"The biggest fuel economy standards improvements are in the passenger car area – that is where the pressure is," said Mike Brown of South Korea–based SK Lubricants. He spoke at the 15th ICIS World Base Oils and Lubricants Conference in London.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are shifting to lower-viscosity engine oils to meet new fuel economy standards. The lower-viscosity engine oils require light viscosity base oils in order to achieve desired fuel economy performance, Brown said.

Group II and Group III basestocks can be used to manufacture these emerging low-viscosity engine oils and tackle emissions requirements as well, Brown said. 

US corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) will increase from 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg, 44.3km per gallon) in 2011 on passenger cars to 42 mpg by 2016, as stipulated by government requirements announced in May 2009.

Light duty trucks would be required to meet a 26 mpg fuel economy standard in 2016, compared with 24 mpg allowed in 2011. The combined light vehicle fleet would move up from the current 27.3 mpg CAFE to 35.5mpg by 2016. 

Currently, the US and Canada have the weakest passenger and light truck standards compared with Europe's current requirement of 45 mpg.

The ICIS World Base Oils and Lubricants Conference began on Thursday and runs through Friday.

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By: Judith Taylor
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