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Regulatory and technology lead-time: The case of US automobile greenhouse gas emission standards


  • Lutsey, Nicholas


The automobile industry and regulatory agencies around the world are coping with the uncertainties of regulatory lead-time and technology deployment for increased vehicle efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The regulation of GHG emissions in the US, with adoption of 2016 standards and ongoing work toward 2025 standards, provides a rich case study to assess questions about the appropriate amount of lead-time to promote sustained long-term investment in vehicle efficiency technology. This analysis examines the milestones, phase-in, lead-time, investments, technology diffusion, and GHG emission progress-to-date toward 2016 standards in the US. The findings suggest that the 2016 rulemaking process establishes a strong model for regulatory lead-time, allowing for ample time for industry to make the necessary investments to meet their GHG reduction commitments by 2016. The 2025 rulemaking continues this strong precedent for extended regulatory lead-time and has led to near unanimous automaker support. The 13-year lead-time for 2025 standards is appropriate to help reduce technology investment risk and sustain long-term capital investments, and it is especially fitting for the difficult task of launching advanced electric-drive technologies for deep long-term GHG emission cuts.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutsey, Nicholas, 2012. "Regulatory and technology lead-time: The case of US automobile greenhouse gas emission standards," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 179-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:21:y:2012:i:c:p:179-190
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2012.03.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sauer, Ildo L. & Escobar, Javier F. & da Silva, Mauro F.P. & Meza, Carlos G. & Centurion, Carlos & Goldemberg, José, 2015. "Bolivia and Paraguay: A beacon for sustainable electric mobility?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 910-925.
    2. Rattanachot, Wit & Wang, Yuhong & Chong, Dan & Suwansawas, Suchatvee, 2015. "Adaptation strategies of transport infrastructures to global climate change," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 159-166.
    3. Comello, Stephen & Reichelstein, Stefan, 2014. "Incentives for early adoption of carbon capture technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 579-588.
    4. Penna, Caetano C.R. & Geels, Frank W., 2015. "Climate change and the slow reorientation of the American car industry (1979–2012): An application and extension of the Dialectic Issue LifeCycle (DILC) model," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 1029-1048.
    5. Celalettin Yuce & Fatih Karpat & Nurettin Yavuz & Gökhan Sendeniz, 2014. "A Case Study: Designing for Sustainability and Reliability in an Automotive Seat Structure," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-24, July.
    6. repec:eee:appene:v:204:y:2017:i:c:p:544-559 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Vehicle; Regulation; Lead-time;


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