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How can our cars become less polluting? An assessment of the environmental improvement potential of cars


  • Leduc, Guillaume
  • Mongelli, Ignazio
  • Uihlein, Andreas
  • Nemry, Françoise


This paper presents a systematic overview of the environmental impacts of new average diesel and petrol cars from a life cycle perspective. An analysis of different technical and non-technical improvement options that could be achieved at each stage of a car's life cycle was performed. The consequences of the adoption of these options on the environment were estimated. The results show that some of the options analysed could have a major positive impact on the vehicle efficiency and induce large improvements of the environmental profile of passenger cars. The highest improvements are achievable through more efficient power trains (including hybrid car), and through lightweight cars. For some options, burden shifts from one car life cycle phase to another, or from one environmental problem to another, can occur. The results show that besides the purely technological options, those that imply behavioural changes by the driver may also reduce the environmental burden substantially.

Suggested Citation

  • Leduc, Guillaume & Mongelli, Ignazio & Uihlein, Andreas & Nemry, Françoise, 2010. "How can our cars become less polluting? An assessment of the environmental improvement potential of cars," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 409-419, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:409-419

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    Cited by:

    1. Al-Ghandoor, Ahmed & Jaber, Jamal & Al-Hinti, Ismael & Abdallat, Yousef, 2013. "Statistical assessment and analyses of the determinants of transportation sector gasoline demand in Jordan," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 129-138.
    2. Fontaras, Georgios & Dilara, Panagiota, 2012. "The evolution of European passenger car characteristics 2000–2010 and its effects on real-world CO2 emissions and CO2 reduction policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 719-730.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:130:y:2017:i:c:p:48-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mijailović, Radomir, 2013. "The optimal lifetime of passenger cars based on minimization of CO2 emission," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 869-878.


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