Focused research benefits U.S., world partners 

Over the next 20 years, China’s transportation energy use is expected to significantly increase from its current 10% share of national energy consumption to become the fastest growing sector of energy consumption. China is already the world’s largest car consumer, and has also become a global leader in light-duty electric vehicles. 

To help slow this unprecedented import-dependent growth in transport demand for oil, China has adopted more stringent fuel economy standards to improve passenger and freight vehicle efficiency, promoted natural gas vehicles and established subsidy programs for plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. Yet China remains the world’s largest net oil importer.

We have done significant research looking at technologies, policies and behavior change for supporting the clean transportation transition in China, utilizing best practices from the U.S. and beyond. We have developed a comprehensive, technology and end-use based energy demand and CO2  emission outlook of China’s passenger and freight transport and used it to evaluate the impact of transport activity reduction, efficiency improvement and fuel switching on China’s growing domestic oil and gas supply-demand gap and implications for the global oil and gas markets.

Understanding the growth of Chinese transportation demand benefits the U.S. and the world by highlighting important findings for other emerging economies as well as global automakers and vehicle manufacturers. Lessons learned from China on the successful growth of its passenger EV market, as well as leading subnational efforts in transport electrification, can also inform planning and development in other emerging economies. 

China's fast-growing transport sector will more than double demand for oil and will constitute an important component to the growth of national energy demand, despite significant efficiency improvements, electrification and growing shares of natural gas vehicles. Freight road transport will be a key driver of future transport energy demand, but presents new challenges in China's energy transition and for meeting China’s carbon neutrality goal. Our research has explored and quantified the potential impacts of different strategies for reducing diesel demand, and related CO2 emissions and air pollutants, from China’s heavy-duty trucking sector.

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate
Senior Advisor