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The reductions in passenger vehicle emissions that have been achieved since the mid-twentieth century are a great environmental success story. Government regulation of tailpipe emissions and private investments in breakthrough technologies such as the three-way catalytic converter have reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons by 75 to 90 percent at a relatively small cost to consumers. Since California first established emission standards for passenger vehicles in the 1960s, different regulatory approaches have been adopted by the United States, Japan, and Europe, and each has been emulated to some degree in other parts of the world. Significant work remains to replicate these successes throughout the rest of the global fleet.

The massive impact of passenger vehicles on climate also remains to be addressed. The transportation sector is responsible for about one-quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Passenger vehicles account for just under half of this total, and will remain the predominant source of these emissions for the foreseeable future.

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Recently Released

Principles for effective electric vehicle incentive design
Assesses the best practices in the design of electric vehicle incentives based on an analysis of these incentives across major markets in North America, Europe, and Asia.
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CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU: Car manufacturers’ performance in 2015
Summary of provisional data from the European Environment Agency. Average CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the EU in 2015 were 119.6 g CO2/km, 8% below the 2015 target and 3% lower than in 2014.
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One in a series of technical briefs highlighting important innovations and trends in "conventional" automotive technologies, which are significantly outpacing projections made at the time the 2025 CAFE standards were finalized.
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The Staff

Anup Bandivadekar
Anup Bandivadekar
Program Director / India Lead
Vicente Franco
Vicente Franco
Senior Researcher
John German
John German
Senior Fellow / US Co-Lead
Hui He
Hui He
Senior Policy Analyst / China Co-Lead
Fanta Kamakaté
Fanta Kamakaté
Chief Program Officer
Peter Mock
Peter Mock
Europe Managing Director / EU Lead
Peter Slowik
Peter Slowik
Associate Researcher