Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One-third of car fuel consumption is due to friction loss

Date:
January 12, 2012
Source:
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Summary:
No less than one-third of a car's fuel consumption is spent in overcoming friction, and this friction loss has a direct impact on both fuel consumption and emissions. However, new technology can reduce friction by anything from 10 to 80 percent in various components of a car, according to a new study.

No less than one third of a car's fuel consumption is spent in overcoming friction, and this friction loss has a direct impact on both fuel consumption and emissions. However, new technology can reduce friction by anything from 10% to 80% in various components of a car, according to a joint study by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in USA. It should thus be possible to reduce car's fuel consumption and emissions by 18% within the next 5 to 10 years and up to 61% within 15 to 25 years.

There are 612 million cars in the world today. The average car clocks up about 13,000 km per year, and in the meantime burns 340 litres of fuel just to overcome friction, costing the driver EUR 510 per year.

Of the energy output of fuel in a car engine, 33% is spent in exhaust, 29% in cooling and 38% in mechanical energy, of which friction losses account for 33% and air resistance for 5%. By comparison, an electric car has only half the friction loss of that of a car with a conventional internal combustion engine.

Annual friction loss in an average car worldwide amounts to 11,860 MJ: of this, 35% is spent in overcoming rolling resistance in the wheels, 35% in the engine itself, 15% in the gearbox and 15% in braking. With current technology, only 21.5% of the energy output of the fuel is used to actually move the car; the rest is wasted.

Worldwide savings with new technology

A recent VTT and ANL study shows that friction in cars can be reduced with new technologies such as new surface coatings, surface textures, lubricant additives, low-viscosity lubricants, ionic liquids and low-friction tyres inflated to pressures higher than normal.

Friction can be reduced by 10% to 50% using new surface technologies such as diamond-like carbon materials and nanocomposites. Laser texturing can be employed to etch a microtopography on the surface of the material to guide the lubricant flow and internal pressures so as to reduce friction by 25% to 50% and fuel consumption by 4%. Ionic liquids are made up of electrically charged molecules that repel one another, enabling a further 25% to 50% reduction in friction.

In 2009, a total of 208,000 million litres of fuel was burned in cars worldwide just to overcome friction; this amounts to 7.3 million TJ (terajoules) of energy. Theoretically, introducing the best current technological solutions in all of the world's cars could save EUR 348,000 million per year; the best scientifically proven solutions known today could save EUR 576,000 million per year, and the best solutions to emerge over the next 10 years could save EUR 659,000 million per year.

Realistically, though, over a period of 5 to 10 years of enhanced action and product development measures could be expected to enable savings of 117,000 million litres in fuel consumption per year, representing an 18% reduction from the present level. Furthermore, in realistic terms, carbon dioxide emissions could be expected to decrease by 290 million tonnes per year and financial savings to amount to EUR 174,000 million per year in the short term.

Drivers can influence fuel consumption

A driver can significantly influence the fuel consumption of his or her car.. A reduction of 10% in driving speed, e.g. from 110 km/h to 100 km/h, translates into a 16% saving in fuel consumption. Slower speeds also allow for higher tyre pressures; an increase from 2 bar to 2.5 bar can translate into a 3% saving in fuel consumption.

VTT and ANL calculated friction loss in cars worldwide using a method that incorporated total crude oil consumption and fuel consumption of cars, the energy consumption of an average car, and the energy that an average car uses to overcome friction.

Friction losses were accounted for in the subsystems of a car -- tyres, engine, gearbox, brakes -- and also in its components, such as gears, bearings, gaskets and pistons. The friction losses caused at friction points and lubrication points were also considered.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kenneth Holmberg, Peter Andersson, Ali Erdemir. Global energy consumption due to friction in passenger cars. Tribology International, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.triboint.2011.11.022

Cite This Page:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. "One-third of car fuel consumption is due to friction loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112095853.htm>.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. (2012, January 12). One-third of car fuel consumption is due to friction loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112095853.htm
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. "One-third of car fuel consumption is due to friction loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112095853.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins