The state of clean transport policy: A 2014 synthesis of vehicle and fuel policy developments

Published: 2014.12.23

Joshua D. Miller, Cristiano Façanha

cover, State of Clean Transportation Policy 2014

This report summarizes advances in national and international regulations intended to reduce energy use, mitigate climate change, and control air pollution from motor vehicles and fuels across eleven major vehicle markets from January 2013 through August 2014. These eleven vehicle markets—China, the U.S., the European Union, Japan, Brazil, India, Russia, Canada, South Korea, Australia, and Mexico—represented 85% of total vehicle sales in 2013.

The report quantifies benefits associated with environmental policies for light- and heavy-duty vehicles, marine vessels, aircraft, and fuels in terms of reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local air pollution, fuel savings, and benefits to public health. To the extent possible, it also estimates the additional benefits that could be gained through the wider adoption of best-practice policies.

Climate impacts and energy use

In 2010, the global transport sector was responsible for almost a quarter of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, resulting in the release of 8.8 billion metric tons (Gt) of CO2 into the atmosphere and consuming 47 million barrels per day of oil (mbd). By 2030, transport emissions are expected to increase by roughly two-thirds, to 15 GtCO2, and oil consumption to rise to 78 mbd. Based on the assessment offered in this report, total reductions from policies adopted in major markets will lower projected baseline emissions by 2.2 GtCO2 and fuel consumption by 11 mbd, equivalent to about a 13% reduction. An expansion of best practices could reduce another 4.4 GtCO2 and 21 mbd in 2030, equivalent to a 30% and 27% reduction, respectively, in 2030.

Air-pollutant emissions and public health

Exposure to outdoor air pollution resulted in 3.2 million early deaths worldwide in 2010 and ranks among the top ten health risks. Motorized transport is a major contributor to outdoor air pollution, particularly near major roadways and in urban areas with a high concentration of vehicle activity. The vast majority of health impacts from vehicle activity occur in India, China, Brazil, Mexico, and the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. Implementing world-class vehicle emissions standards would reduce transport air pollution-related mortality from approximately 270,000 deaths to 71,000 deaths in 2030 globally, with benefits that are greatly concentrated in major cities. These estimates are limited strictly to exhaust emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from light- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles in urban areas and thus represent a conservative estimate of health impacts from transport.