Comparing California and European Strategies for Reaching Very Low Carbon Transportation Systems

Research Team: Lew Fulton (lead), Pierpaolo Cazzola, Marshall Miller, and Aditya Ramji

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Achieving a near-zero CO2 transportation system within California will be extremely challenging but is needed to reach the state’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. The transition will require a revolution in the way transportation services are provided, and in the policy choices needed to make these technologies economically viable. California is a world leader in low-carbon transportation policies including 100% zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates, vehicle and infrastructure incentives, low-carbon fuel standards, and others. However, these are likely not enough to achieve net zero goals by 2045, as highlighted in the May 2022 Draft Scoping Plan by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). While the Scoping Plan will serve as an important planning tool, the state would also benefit from additional analysis of other national strategies, especially from leading European countries and the European Union (EU), that can be applied to California. Strong sustainable transportation policy action across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, and other countries are worthy of investigation both as sources of innovative and alternative policies but also as potential synergistic approaches to what is already underway here.

Project Description: This project will conduct an analysis of low-carbon transportation policies in Europe (focused both at the EU-level and among member countries) and in California, including recent and planned policies, with a particular focus on ZEVs. The most important European policies will be compared to existing and planned policies in California to gain insight into how California could adapt some European strategies in its quest for a carbon-neutral future. Emphasis will be on road vehicles (light-duty vehicles and medium/heavy duty trucks and buses), but some attention will also be given to aviation, shipping, and rail. Areas of analysis will include vehicle and fuel-related regulatory policy, financial and fiscal policies such as incentives and feebates, as well as direct investments (e.g., in infrastructure, information/education, etc.). The analysis will review transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets, progress on reducing GHG emissions from different transportation modes, current strategies, policies, and their impacts. It will also examine the analysis and modeling of current and future trends, policy impacts, and gaps.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $25,410