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The allure of technology: How France and California promoted electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce urban air pollution

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  • David Calef

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  • Robert Goble
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    Abstract

    All advanced industrialized societies face the problem of air pollution produced by motor vehicles. In spite of striking improvements in internal combustion engine technology, air pollution in most urban areas is still measured at levels determined to be harmful to human health. Throughout the 1990s and beyond, California and France both chose to improve air quality by means of technological innovation, adopting legislation that promoted clean vehicles, prominently among them, electric vehicles (EVs). In California, policymakers chose a technology-forcing approach, setting ambitious goals (e.g., zero emission vehicles), establishing strict deadlines and issuing penalties for non-compliance. The policy process in California called for substantial participation from the public, the media, the academic community and the interest groups affected by the regulation. The automobile and oil industries bitterly contested the regulation, in public and in the courts. In contrast, in France the policy process was non-adversarial, with minimal public participation and negligible debate in academic circles. We argue that California's stringent regulation spurred the development of innovative hybrid and fuel cell vehicles more effectively than the French approach. However, in spite of the differences, both California and France have been unable to put a substantial number of EVs on the road. Our comparison offers some broad lessons about how policy developments within a culture influence both the development of technology and the impact of humans on the environment. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLP 2007

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11077-006-9022-7
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Policy Sciences.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-34

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:40:y:2007:i:1:p:1-34

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102982

    Related research

    Keywords: Environmental policy; Technology policy; Policy styles; Air pollution; Sustainable transport; Electric and hybrid vehicles;

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    Cited by:
    1. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2011. "The policy challenges of tradable credits: A critical review of eight markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 575-585, February.
    2. Axsen, Jonn & Kurani, Kenneth S., 2009. "Interpersonal Influence within Car Buyers’ Social Networks: Five Perspectives on Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Demonstration Participants," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt35w7s3jp, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    3. Driscoll, Áine & Lyons, Seán & Mariuzzo, Franco & Tol, Richard S. J., 2012. "Simulating Demand for Electrical Vehicles using Revealed Preference Data," Papers WP437, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    4. Bae, Sang Hoo & Sarkis, Joseph & Yoo, Chung Sik, 2011. "Greening transportation fleets: Insights from a two-stage game theoretic model," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 793-807.
    5. Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Hirsh, Richard F., 2009. "Beyond batteries: An examination of the benefits and barriers to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1095-1103, March.
    6. Nair, Sujith & Paulose, Hanna, 2014. "Emergence of green business models: The case of algae biofuel for aviation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 175-184.

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