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The effectiveness of policy on consumer choices for private road passenger transport emissions reductions in six major economies

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Mercure, J-F 
Lam, A 


The effectiveness of fiscal policy to in uence vehicle purchases for emissions reductions in private passenger road transport depends on its ability to incentivise consumers to make choices oriented towards lower emissions vehicles. However, car purchase choices are known to be strongly socially determined, and this sector is highly diverse due to significant socio-economic differences between consumer groups. Here, we present a comprehensive dataset and analysis of the structure of the 2012 private passenger vehicle eet-years in six major economies across the World (UK, USA, China, India, Japan and Brazil) in terms of price, engine size and emissions distributions. We argue that choices and aggregate elasticities of substitution can be predicted using this data, enabling to evaluate the effectiveness of potential fiscal and technological change policies on eet-year emissions reductions. We provide tools to do so based on the distributive structure of prices and emissions in segments of a diverse market, both for conventional as well as unconventional engine technologies. We find that markets differ significantly between nations, and that correlations between engine sizes, emissions and prices exist strongly in some markets and not strongly in others. We furthermore find that markets for unconventional engine technologies have patchy coverages of varying levels. These findings are interpreted in terms of policy strategy.


This is the final version of the article. It first appeared from IOP via


Policy effectiveness, Emissions reductions, Passenger road transport, Vehicle choices

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Environmental Research Letters

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IOP Publishing
We acknowledge our respective funders, the Three Guineas Trust (A. Lam) and the UK Engi- neering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), fellowship no EP/K007254/1 (J.-F. Mercure).