The Energy Futures Research Program is a rapidly growing research and policy program in the Institute of Transportation Studies of the University of California, Davis. It grows out of the STEPS program and focuses on medium/long term transportation energy transitions for California, the US and worldwide. The program receives support from a range of government and industry partners, planning agencies and research foundations, and works in close cooperation with the federally-funded National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the other research programs at UC Davis.

The Energy Futures Program uses a wide range of models and related tools to conduct research on transportation energy and fuel pathways and creates future scenarios to support the development of sustainable transport, with a geographic scope that includes California, the U.S. and the world.  Research focuses on assessing fuels and vehicle technologies; considering sustainable energy pathways and comparing options; conducting environmental and cost analyses; investigating policy implications, needs and impacts; and comparing models and studies. 

Key Research Questions

    • What are the power generation and distribution impacts of PEVs and FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles), electricity and hydrogen demand, and grid effects?
    • What are the resource and feedstock costs, infrastructure needs, and GHG (greenhouse gas) burden of biofuels and hydrogen?
    • What are the relative costs and synergies of fuel and technology options and infrastructure within and across modes and regions?
    • How will new fuels, including H2, impact further transportation needs such as shipping, electric aviation, pilotless air taxis?