Automobile use, fuel economy and CO2 emissions in industrialized countries: Encouraging trends through 2008?
Car use and fuel economy are factors that determine oil demand and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Recent data on automobile utilization and fuel economy reveal surprising trends that point to changes in oil demand and CO2 emissions. New vehicle and on-road fleet fuel economy have risen in Europe and Japan since the mid 1990s, and in the US since 2003. Combined with a plateau in per capita vehicle use in all countries analyzed, these trends indicate that per capita fuel use and resultant tail-pipe CO2 emissions have stagnated or even declined. Fuel economy technology, while important, is not the only factor that explains changes in tested and on-road fuel economy, vehicle efficiency and transport emissions across countries. Vehicle size and performance choices by car producers and buyers, and driving distances have also played significant roles in total fuel consumption, and explain most of the differences among countries. Technology applied to new vehicles managed to drive down the fuel use per unit of horsepower or weight by 50%, yet most of the potential fuel savings were negated by overall increased power and weight, particularly in the US. Similarly, the promise of savings from dieselization of the fleet has revealed itself as a minor element of the overall improvement in new vehicle or on-road fuel economy. And the fact that diesels are driven so much more than gasoline cars, a difference that has increased since 1990, argues that those savings are minimal. This latter point is a reminder that car use, not just efficiency or fuel choice, is an important determinant of total fuel use and CO2 emissions. We speculate that if the upward spiral of car weight and power slows or even reverses (as has been observed in Europe and Japan) and the now mandatory standards in many countries have the intended effect that fuel use will remain flat or only grow weakly for some time. If real fuel prices of 2008, which rivaled their peaks of the early 1980s, fell back somewhat but still remain well above their early 2000 values. If the prices remain high, this, combined with the strengthened fuel economy standards, may finally lead to new patterns of car ownership, use and fuel economy. However, if fuel prices continue their own stagnation or even decline after the peaks of 2008 and car use starts upward, fuel use will increase again, albeit more slowly.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/30473/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ó Gallachóir, Brian P. & Howley, Martin & Cunningham, Stephen & Bazilian, Morgan, 2009. "How private car purchasing trends offset efficiency gains and the successful energy policy response," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3790-3802, October.
- Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008.
"Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand,"
The Energy Journal,
International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
- Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2006. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," NBER Working Papers 12530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2006. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," Working Papers 625, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- Hymel, Kent M. & Small, Kenneth A. & Dender, Kurt Van, 2010. "Induced demand and rebound effects in road transport," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1220-1241, December.
- Schipper, Lee & Figueroa, Maria Josefina & Price, Lynn & Espey, Molly, 1993. "Mind the gap The vicious circle of measuring automobile fuel use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(12), pages 1173-1190, December.
- Schipper, Lee & Figueroa, Maria J. & Price, Lynn & Espey, Molly, 1993. "Mind the Gap: The Vicious Circle of Measuring Automobile Fuel Use," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt06n8g4x9, University of California Transportation Center.
- Kamakaté, Fatumata & Schipper, Lee, 2009. "Trends in truck freight energy use and carbon emissions in selected OECD countries from 1973 to 2005," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3743-3751, October.
- Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
- Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," Working Papers 050603, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
- Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 2001. "Should diesel cars in Europe be discouraged?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 453-470, July.
- Inge Mayeres & Stef Proost, 2000. "Should diesel cars in Europe be discouraged?," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0005, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
- Inge Mayeres & Stef Proost, 2000. "Should Diesel Cars in Europe be discouraged ?," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0018, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
- Fontaras, Georgios & Samaras, Zissis, 2010. "On the way to 130Â gÂ CO2/km--Estimating the future characteristics of the average European passenger car," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1826-1833, April.
- Greene, David L, 1998. "Why CAFE worked," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 595-613, July.
- Schipper, Lee & Tax, Wienke, 1994. "New car test and actual fuel economy: yet another gap?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 257-265, October.
- Zachariadis, Theodoros, 2006. "On the baseline evolution of automobile fuel economy in Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(14), pages 1773-1785, September.
- Ross Morrow, W. & Gallagher, Kelly Sims & Collantes, Gustavo & Lee, Henry, 2010. "Analysis of policies to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions from the US transportation sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1305-1320, March.
- Zachariadis, Theodoros & Samaras, Zissis, 2001. "Validation of road transport statistics through energy efficiency calculations," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 467-491.
- Ryan, Lisa & Ferreira, Susana & Convery, Frank, 2009. "The impact of fiscal and other measures on new passenger car sales and CO2 emissions intensity: Evidence from Europe," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 365-374, May.
- Lee Schipper & Céline Marie-Lilliu & Lew Fulton, 2002. "Diesels in Europe: Analysis of Characteristics, Usage Patterns, Energy Savings and CO 2 Emission Implications," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 36(2), pages 305-340, May.
- Clerides, Sofronis & Zachariadis, Theodoros, 2008. "The effect of standards and fuel prices on automobile fuel economy: An international analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2657-2672, September.
- David L. Greene, 1990. "CAFE OR PRICE?: An Analysis of the Effects of Federal Fuel Economy Regulations and Gasoline Price on New Car MPG, 1978-89," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 37-58.
- Bonilla, David, 2009. "Fuel demand on UK roads and dieselisation of fuel economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3769-3778, October.
- Joyce Dargay & Dermot Gately & Martin Sommer, 2007. "Vehicle Ownership and Income Growth, Worldwide: 1960-2030," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 143-170.
- Fontaras, Georgios & Samaras, Zissis, 2007. "A quantitative analysis of the European Automakers' voluntary commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars based on independent experimental data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2239-2248, April. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)