Measures directed at alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, reducing the demand for travel, or creating disincentives to car use have become important policy options. These are referred to as transport control measures. This paper describes them, discusses their relative merits, and addresses the issues surrounding quantification of their effectiveness.
Topic: 6.2 emissions
Smog check programmes have failed for several reasons: (1) Current programmes only encourage cars to be clean on the inspection day and do little to deter motorists from tampering; (2) Although most emissions come from a few vehicles with high emissions, current programmes require inspection of all cars; (3) About half the cars repaired following an inspection have increased emissions.
Alternative fuels are a potential means of reducing local pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. emission reductions are highest for gaseous fuels and electric vehicles using renewable energy sources. While some alternative fuels can be cost-competitive with gasoline, they have relatively small environmental advantages. Car owner-drivers will prefer fuels that can be used in existing vehicles such as reformulated gasoline.
This article examines the cost-effectiveness of possible policy instruments. Simulations show that carbon taxes are superior to corporate average fuel economy systems or rebate schemes, which in turn are found to be more cost-effective than policies relying on increases in annual car ownership taxes. This result is qualified in the presence of car manufacturers with different compliance costs, and when consumers underestimate the fuel use over the vehicle’s lifetime when they decide to buy a new car.
Three main policy options are discussed: increases in the average level of motor fuel taxes, tax differentiation as between different motor fuels or classes of vehicle, and the tax treatment of complements or substitutes to vehicles which cause pollution.
The authors present estimates of air pollution costs from various types of motor vehicles in the Los Angeles region. Costs are dominated by mortality particulate matter. A typical heavy-duty diesel vehicle is much more costly than the average cost. Cost estimates are sensitive to the assumed value of life, to the measured health effects of particulates, and to assumptions about road dust.
Gasoline demand elasticities in the OECD are analysed and used to forecast gasoline consumption and carbon emissions under various price and tax policies. If the whole OECD had taxes as high as Italy, emissions could be reduced by more than 30 per cent in the year 2000, instead of increasing by almost 50 per cent if taxes remained unchanged.
Damage from air pollution appears not to justify large reductions in automobile travel in typical US urban areas; but it does justify significant expenditure on control of pollution. But local conditions vary widely, and some categories of pollution were not covered.