Clean Vehicles

Regulation of Cars and Light Trucks

Concerns about energy security and pollution are the drivers behind public policies designed to spur the development and commercialization of clean vehicles. Although the engineering aspects of clean vehicles are crucial, engineers have already pioneered advances such as lightweight materials, more efficient gasoline engines and transmissions, hybrid engines, advanced biofuels, plug-in electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The missing ingredients in clean-vehicle policies are contributions from the social and behavioral sciences, including economics and policy analysis, that will guide the development of clean-vehicle policies that are both effective and cost-effective.

The SPEA Working Group on Clean Vehicles is sharpening its focus on the consumer’s perspective toward clean vehicles, especially the passenger cars and light trucks that account for the majority of the petroleum consumption and emissions from the transport sector. In previous work, we compared the public policies toward plug-in electric vehicles in the California, the U.S., China, the European Union, Germany, and France. The policies examined include the regulations of vehicle manufacturers as well as the public subsidies, tax credits, and incentives (monetary and nonmonetary) that spur or discourage use of clean vehicles. Since Indiana is one of the leading automotive manufacturing states in the nation, Indiana has a special interest in making sure that public policies toward clean vehicles are evidence-based, effective, and cost-effective. The Group has published several papers showing that substantial progress must be made with consumer awareness, knowledge, and incentives if commercialization of plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is to be effective.

The SPEA Working Group has recently completed an 18-month investigation of the cumulative macroeconomic impacts of three regulatory programs: the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Performance Standards, and the California Air Resources Board’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs. The Group found that while the regulatory programs promise long-term economic gains in the US, the economic impacts will be predominantly negative in the near-term. The Group highlights a variety of refinements to regulatory and fiscal policies that can enhance both the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of current clean-vehicle policies. 

A Macroeconomic Study of Federal and State Automotive Regulations
with Recommendations for Analysts, Regulators, and Legislators

Sanya Carley, Denvil Duncan, John D. Graham, Saba Siddiki, and Nikolaos Zirogiannis

Released March 9, 2017

Read the complete report

Rethinking Auto Fuel Economy Policy: Technical and Policy Suggestions for the 2016-17 Midterm Reviews

Working Research Group

John Graham

Dean, School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Interests: Government reform, energy and the environment, and the future of the automobile in both developed and developing countries

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Sanya Carley

Associate Professor

Interests: Energy policy, electricity technology innovation policy, applied econometrics, and policy instruments

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Jerome Dumortier

Assistant Professor, IUPUI

Interests: Agricultural economics, resource and environmental economics, energy economics, financial economics

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Denvil Duncan

Assistant Professor

Interests: Public economics, labor economics, economic development

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Anthony Liu

Assistant Professor

Interests: Climate change policy, environment in developing countries, pollution issues and the interactions between the environment and the economy in China

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John Rupp

Senior Research Scientist

Interests: Subsurface geology, unconventional reservoir analysis, carbon sequestration, public information management, program development, personnel and project management

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Nikolaos Zirogiannis

Assistant Scientist

Interests: Applied econometrics, time series, environmental and natural resource economics, and environmental policy

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