Alternative Fuel Demand and Adoption Behavior of Heavy-duty Vehicle Fleets in California

Research Team: Stephen Ritchie (lead), Youngeun Bae, Suman Kumar Mitra, and Craig Rindt

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: On-road medium and heavy-duty vehicles account for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California’s transportation sector and the air pollutants emitted from these vehicles have detrimental effects on the health conditions of local residents. At the same time, the freight transportation system is responsible for one-third of the jobs in the California economy. Thus, it is imperative to implement mitigation strategies for reducing truck-generated emissions so that these harmful emissions can be decoupled from economic growth. While encouraging HDV fleet operators to purchase alternative fuel vehicles is one of the promising solutions, alternative heavy-duty are still only a very marginal share of the vehicle population. Efforts to increase the share of vehicles using alternative fuels depend on obtaining a better understanding of fleet decision-making behavior as it relates to alternative fuel vehicle choice.

Project Description: This study aims to fill this gap by exploring HDV fleet operator decisions about alternative fuel adoption using both existing literature and new empirical data. To this end, the researchers first develop an initial theoretical framework of AFV fleet adoption behavior in organizations based upon existing theories and literature. The researchers then empirically improve the framework by investigating 20 organizations in California via in-depth qualitative interviews and project reports. The study results contribute theoretically and empirically to a better understanding of the demand-side aspects of AFV adoption by HDV fleet operators, particularly in California and in the other US states that follow California’s environmental policies.

Status: Completed

Budget: $122,476