Manual Towards an Energy Policy for Transport

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Therefore the panel decided that development of a single cost-effectiveness number would be inaccurate and that to develop one for the range of possibilities was not possible in the time available in this study and also would involve forecasts the panel was unwilling to make.

This was also the conclusion of a recent and concurrent Office of Technology Assessment study U. Congress, on this issue. Chapter 21 of that report discusses these difficulties for the case of substituting methanol for gasoline which has more information available for it than the three fuels mentioned above.

Increased use of any of the alternative fuels will require the resolution of a "chicken and egg" problem: the automobile industry is reluctant to produce vehicles capable of running on alternative fuels if motorists cannot easily purchase such fuels, and the fuel industry is reluctant to create a new infrastructure for the distribution of alternative fuels if few vehicles can use.

If alternative fuel vehicles are used first in centrally fueled fleets, however, the initial distribution infrastructure could be smaller. One option to encourage the use of alternative fuels is a carbon tax. The impact of such a tax is likely to be immediate and to encourage the development and use of alternative fuels. The research and development of alternative fuels would be encouraged even more if the revenues of the carbon tax were used to subsidize alternative fuel development.

Transportation and Energy Issues

The tax could also be used to subsidize the reduction of alternative fuel costs U. Past experience indicates that if an alternative fuel is not priced within a few cents of gasoline, it is unlikely to gain acceptance Greene, Cars and light trucks drove more than 1. The number of vehicle miles traveled VMT grew at a rate of 3. Nevertheless, even at this lower projected growth rate, VMT would double again by One particularly noticeable trend is the growth in sales of, and energy use by, light trucks, a category that includes pickups, vans, and utility vehicles.

Since , light truck sales have increased at an average annual rate of 12 percent; they now account for nearly one-third of the light-duty vehicle market Davis et al. Reasons for the shift to using pickup trucks as passenger vehicles may include the decreasing number of passengers in typical trips, the longer lifetime of light trucks, and the fact that they are less regulated with respect to fuel economy, emissions, and safety than cars Ross, The U.

Increases in VMT by both automobiles and light trucks have significantly outpaced highway construction. The number of new highway miles rose 9 percent from to , a period during which VMT increased percent U. General Accounting Office, By , nearly two-thirds of peak-hour travelers on urban interstate highways experienced delays U. Department of Transportation, Even if roadway capacity is expanded by 20 percent, urban freeway congestion is projected to increase by percent by U. Congestion in turn will lower fuel economy, which can decline by 30 percent when an automobile is traveling at 15 mph in heavy traffic rather than at 55 mph on the open road Davis et al.

Both demand-side and supply-side approaches are being used to deal with the growth in VMT and traffic congestion.

The EU: Transport, telecommunications and energy

Interest has grown in transportation demand management as a means of slowing VMT growth and reducing congestion. A growing number of governmental and private sector programs are using public information, financial incentives, parking restrictions, and provision of transportation alternatives such as carpools and vanpools to reduce peak-hour vehicle trips. On the supply side, traditional highway construction and expansion programs are being supplemented by construction of exclusive HOV lanes, park-and-ride lots, and new mass transit capacity.

The most ambitious such plan has been established in southern California, where a combination of aggressive transportation demand management to create 1. Evaluation of these programs and enforcement of their provisions are, of course, still in the infancy stage. Transportation system management uses both demand-side and supply-side measures to create a least-cost system for meeting mobility needs. Transportation system management is useful in a CO 2 emission reduction strategy for several reasons.

First, shifting automobile and light truck users, particularly solo commuters, to other transportation modes can reduce energy use and thus CO 2 emissions. Second, without control measures, growth in VMT could completely offset the CO 2 reduction effects of improved fuel economy. Third, reducing travel demand and commuting distances can make alternative fuels more practicable by reducing the amount of fuel needed and shortening the required range of alternative fuel vehicles.

During the s, substantial increases in vehicle fuel economy were more than offset by increases in vehicle use, producing net increases in transportation sector fuel use and CO 2 emissions. The VMT increase of 56 million miles of automobile travel and 27 million miles of light two-axle, four-wheel truck travel that occurred from to Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association, produced nearly 40, t CO 2 emissions. The amount by which these emissions could have been reduced depends on the alternative transportation modes the drivers would have chosen.

In general, however, alternatives are less energy intensive than the automobile. As shown here, a commuter automobile carries, on average, 1.

A number of structural barriers, regulatory hurdles, and market imperfections must be overcome before substantial changes will occur in transportation demand, fuel use, and CO 2 emissions. Among the most significant barriers to efficient transportation management are the inaccuracy of price signals in reflecting the full social cost and the lack of more-efficient transportation alternatives.

Americans seldom see the full costs of their transportation choices whether automobile or transit and virtually never pay these costs as transportation user charges. Instead of user fees, public and private funds pay for a substantial part of the infrastructure needed to extract and distribute gasoline, to construct and operate highways and transit systems, and to provide parking.

With respect to the automobile, these hidden costs include the following:. This situation is reversed in Western Europe, where revenues from taxes on gasoline and automobile ownership far exceed government expenditures for highways Pucher, Tax policy encourages these expenditures by treating free parking as a tax-free benefit for employees and a tax-deductible expense for the businesses that provide it Pucher, ; Institute of Transportation Engineers, Much of this land has been removed from the tax rolls and is thus indirectly subsidized by local municipalities Ketcham and Pinkwas, ; Renner, Americans have no way of knowing that they are indirectly paying these costs to support their driving habits.

Indeed, the out-of-pocket costs of driving have fallen substantially in recent years. It is not surprising that American drivers responded to these declining out-of-pocket costs by driving more. When apparent automobile operating costs are low, Americans have no good economic reason to purchase dual- or alternative-fuel cars, to worry about the fuel efficiency of their automobiles, or to use mass transit.

Another barrier to effective transportation system management is the lack of safe, convenient, and cost-effective mass transit services in most areas of the country.

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Although U. Americans averaged only 36 transit trips per capita in American Public Transit Association, ; Davis et al. The inadequacies of the U. This priority is also reflected in the amount of public money spent to subsidize these modes. Department of Transportation, ; U.

A number of transportation system management options can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include altering demand through. Pricing strategies can also be used to make drivers, particularly solo commuters, responsible for more of the out-of-pocket and social costs imposed by their automobile use. The policy objective would be to ensure that each class of transportation system user pays the full marginal social costs they impose on the system.

At least three types of pricing strategies are available: increasing the cost of gasoline through taxation, increasing the cost of driving through higher tolls and roadway pricing, and increasing the cost of purchasing automobiles through taxes and higher registration fees Deakin, Increased parking costs are treated below as a parking management measure.


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Gasoline prices in the United States have always been low in comparison with those of other countries, and they dropped drastically during the s. A gallon of gasoline cost less in in real terms corrected for inflation than it did in In , gasoline and motor oil accounted for only 15 percent of total car operating costs per mile in the United States, down from 26 percent in Davis et al. Taxation policies strongly affect the cost of gasoline. Per-gallon taxes on gasoline are 3 to 7 times higher in European countries, and the difference is overwhelmingly due to deliberate taxation policies, not to differences in the cost of petroleum.

This price differential is, in part, responsible for the fact that cars are used for only 50 percent of trips in most Western European countries and less than 40 percent of trips in Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, and Austria, but are used for 80 percent of all U. Higher gasoline prices may help reduce vehicle usage because they are the type of out-of-pocket cost consumers weigh when making travel decisions.

There are, however, limits to reducing VMT through gasoline pricing, especially for owners of fuel-efficient cars for which gasoline costs are a small proportion of total operating costs. A variety of proposals have been advanced for increasing the cost of vehicle use through roadway pricing mechanisms such as tolls and congestion. Graduated fee schedules could be used to encourage multioccupant and off-peak travel. One roadway pricing approach is currently being applied in the Singapore central business district Southern California Association of Governments, Research and empirical experience in other settings are needed to determine elasticities and project drivers' responses to roadway pricing changes so that the potential emission reductions and cost-effectiveness can be calculated.

The number of vehicles per household increased from 1. Reductions in the number of vehicles purchased due to higher sales taxes and registration fees may account, in part, for the smaller share of travel by automobile in Western European countries, which generally charge a higher sales tax on new cars than the United States does. Sales taxes in the United States average only 5 percent, while those in Europe range from 33 percent in France to 47 percent in the Netherlands to percent in Denmark Pucher, Parking availability is a crucial element in the calculus of commuting: a worker who cannot inexpensively park his or her car in close proximity to work is less likely to commute alone on a daily basis.

Parking for U. Approximately 75 percent of all commuters park in free employer-provided parking spaces, and another 11 percent use free off-street parking Pucher, Case studies representing large and small employers, from both suburban and urban areas in all parts of the United States and Canada, indicate that the provision of free parking leads to more solo commuting.

When parking fees are imposed, the percentage of employees driving to work alone falls as the price of parking rises Willson et al. Indeed, making parking very costly may work better than raising fuel prices to discourage single-occupant vehicle use.

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Increasing parking costs, limiting parking, and providing incentives to carpoolers and transit users can encourage the use of mass transit and HOV modes such as carpooling and vanpooling. The removal of parking subsidies or the introduction of parking fees can reduce the mode share of solo driving by as much as 30 percent. Two recent U.

Department of Transportation surveys have concluded that parking management is an essential element of any broader transportation demand management program U. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Alternately, converting free or subsidized parking into paid parking provides a revenue stream for the employer, developer, or local government if a parking tax or surcharge is used.

One possible parking management strategy would use public and private measures to reduce the amount of, and impose user charges on the remainder of, all currently "free" employer-provided parking in U. The 48 million workers in U. Under the parking management program described in Appendix F, 25 percent, or 9 million, of these spaces would be eliminated. The remaining 36 million spaces would be priced through a combination of fees, taxes, and surcharges at a level designed to reduce the solo commuting share by 15 percent, from 65 to 50 percent.

The term "transportation demand management" TDM encompasses a variety of actions whose purpose is to alleviate traffic and congestion problems.

Modeling Transport (Energy) Demand and Policies

Crandall believes that the existing economic literature on modal choice in transportation indicates reason for skepticism. He notes the panel's failure to measure, through existing modal-choice models, the magnitude of the fees, taxes, and surcharges that would be required to shift 9 million commuters from private automobiles to various collectivized transit modes, many of which are already heavily subsidized.

Were such an analysis done, he believes that the results would show extremely large costs, not cost savings. Foy believes that there is ample empirical evidence that commuters' modal choice can be varied through relatively low cost policies affecting variables such as parking pricing and availability.


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He also notes that the high occupancy vehicle and transit modes to which automobile commuters switch are often publicly subsidized, but no more and probably less than automobile commuting. Transportation demand management efforts have generally been targeted at reducing traffic during peak commuting hours, when congestion is at its worst, and vehicle occupancy at its lowest. The target of most peak-hour TDM efforts is single-occupant commuting vehicles, which account for up to 60 percent of trips during these times Pisarski, ; Davis et al. Reductions in such trips are relatively easy to achieve because the occupant is traveling between the same two points at the same time daily and are desirable because the commuting takes place during the most congested time of day U.

Shifting such trips onto transit or increasing vehicle occupancy are more productive approaches than simply moving the trips to off-peak periods. Transportation demand management strategies now in use by public and private sector organizations include the following:.