GFEI: A powerful collaboration to cut vehicle emissions

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Watch about the GFEI's ZERO Pathway.

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) is the leading and longest-established partnership of expert organisations working to reduce vehicle emissions. GFEI was founded in 2009 by the FIA Foundation, International Energy Agency (IEA), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Transport Forum of the OECD (ITF) with a focus on improving the efficiency of vehicles globally (‘fuel economy’) and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Over time, new partners have joined, including the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and University of California, Davis (UC Davis), and the focus has shifted to urgently supporting all countries globally to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement and be able to make a rapid shift to zero emission vehicles.

GFEI has a track record of providing detailed country support to countries from every region, including baseline analysis of current vehicle emissions and policy support to develop options and implement measures to reduce emissions. At COP21 in Paris in 2015, GFEI made the commitment to expand our in-country policy support to reach 100 countries – something that GFEI is proud to have met by COP26 in Glasgow.

GFEI’s work with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a great example of the power of partnership. The GEF have supported GFEI through several phases of work – including supporting the initial expansion of capacity-building to countries in 2013. The track record of delivery through the GFEI partnership was one of the key reasons why IEA and UNEP were chosen to lead a new GEF project to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles in 27 developing countries. The Global Electric Mobility Programme supports over 50 countries to build capacity, develop e-mobility strategies and roadmaps, establish e-mobility policy frameworks, create business models and financing schemes, prepare for environmental sustainability of electric mobility – and to pilot electric vehicles on the ground. The vital work draws on the power of the GFEI partnership and is at the cutting edge of cutting emissions globally to tackle climate change.

GFEI’s initial targets focused on doubling vehicle fuel economy (or halving per km fuel consumption) by 2030. Our new targets focus on CO2 reduction, in order to meet the Paris goals. GFEI’s Zero Pathway sets out what this rapid expansion of EVs could look like for different countries – setting out implications across ten policy areas for four groups (leading markets, close followers, aggressive importers, and the rest of the world).

GFEI’s work has shed light on the increasing size of light-duty vehicles, and in particular the shift to SUVs over time, which is eroding the emissions gains from improving vehicle efficiency. In addition, GFEI partners also provide support for a range of global or regional initiatives, including the G20 Transport Task Group, and the UK government’s Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council, which aims to accelerate the pace of the global transition to zero emission vehicles, which is co-Chaired by the US.

Over 13 years, GFEI has also published twenty-four working papers. Many of these follow repeated themes, showing the progression of the work. For example, the very first working paper (WP1), published in July 2010 was on improving fuel economy in the ASEAN region. The latest one (WP24), published in March 2022, builds on GFEI’s achievement in supporting these countries to agree a formal roadmap for improved fuel economy in 2018, and provides policy support to guide them towards meeting these ambitions. The IEA have also led six reports tracking global progress in improving average fuel economy, the latest of which (WP22) was published in November 2021. GFEI’s has shown intellectual leadership on the area of policy support to support the shift to electric vehicles, with a series of leading papers including WP9, WP13, WP16, WP18, WP20 and WP21.

Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation, which hosts the GFEI secretariat said “GFEI’s unique partnership adds real value, drawing on detailed research evidence and practical insights from across different regions to help developing countries leapfrog to cleaner, more efficient vehicles. The GEF-funded Electric Mobility Programme is a real testament to the power of collaboration. Well over a decade since its launch GFEI continues to be a powerful partnership influencing policy change, spawning new projects and having an ever-wider influence and impact.”