Epilogue – The Future of the Automobile: CO2 May Not Be the Great Decider

  • Lee Schipper†


This volume has illustrated the strong link between automobiles and CO2 emissions associated with climate change. In thinking about the future of the automobile it is tempting to blame the car for its contribution to climate change. Yet it is us the drivers who have chosen to create a world of large cars and in most Western nations established a very automobile-dependent lifestyle. The automobile has given many of its owners and users greater choices on where and how to live. But it is clear that those choices increasingly impinge on all drivers, and, more important, on all others trying to move in increasingly crowded cities or between urban areas on crowded motorways. The situation in developing countries is dire at a tenth or less of the motorization rate industrialized countries. People are frozen in most large cities. It is thus hard to foresee expansion in car ownership to high levels forecast by some international organizations and analysts. Does this mean the future of the automobile is grim? Yes, if individuals, their elected officials and stakeholders in fuel and vehicle companies continue as if there are not profound problems confronting the choices automobiles give their users. In any case, CO2 is not the deciding factor over the future of the automobile, rather more fundamental issues such as the difficulty of fitting in so many individual vehicles to so little space. Technology can help somewhat, but the larger issues are what people decide to do with technology.


Fuel Economy High Speed Rail Voluntary Agreement Congestion Price Fuel Intensity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Apelbaum J (2009) A case study in data audit and modelling methodology – Australia. Energy Policy 37:3714–3732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bunch DS, Greene DL (2010) Potential design, implementation, and benefits of a feebate program for new passenger vehicles in California: interim statement of research findings. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-10-13Google Scholar
  3. Cervero R, Golub A (2007) Informal transport: a global perspective. Transport Policy 14:445–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chester M (2008) Life cycle inventory of passenger transportation in the United States. PhD Thesis. Last accessed Mar 2011
  5. Eom J, Schipper L, Thompson L (2011) We keep on Truckin’: trends in freight energy use and carbon emissions in 10 IEA countries. Proceedings of the 2011 ECEEE Summer Study. European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Stockholm and ParisGoogle Scholar
  6. European Commission (1996) Towards fair and efficient pricing. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  7. European Commission (2010) Report from the commission to the European parliament and the council: monitoring the CO2 emissions from the new passenger cars in the EU: data for the year 2008. COM (2009) 615 final. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  8. European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) (1998) Efficient transport in Europe: internalization of external costs. ECMT/OECD, Paris (now International Transport Federation)Google Scholar
  9. Goulder L, Jacobsen M, van Benthem A (2010) Unintended consequences from nested state & federal regulations: the case of the Pavley greenhouse-gas-per-mile limits. Stanford University Department of Economics, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  10. Hymel K, Small K, Van Dender K (2010) Induced demand and rebound effects in road transport. Transportation Res B 44:1220–1241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. IEA (2000) The road from Kyoto. International Energy Agency, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  12. IEA (2009) Transport, energy and CO2. Moving towards sustainability. International Energy Agency, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  13. Kamakate F, Schipper L (2009) Trends in truck freight energy use and carbon emissions in selected OECD countries from 1973 to 2005. Energy Policy 37:3743–3751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kosinski A, Schipper L, Deakin E (2011) Analysis of high-speed rail’s potential to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation in the United States. 2011 Annual meeting of the transportation research board. TRB, Washington, DC.
  15. Millard-Ball A, Schipper L (2010) Are we reaching peak travel? Trends in passenger transport in eight industrialized countries. Transport Reviews. First published on 18 November 2010 (iFirst).
  16. Morrow WR, Sims-Gallagher K, Collantes G, Lee H (2010) Analysis of policies to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector. Energy Policy 38:1305–1320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ng WS, Schipper L, Yang C (2010) Motorization in China. New directions for crowded cities. J Transportation Land Use 3:5–25. doi: 10.5198/jtlu.v3i3.151. Google Scholar
  18. Parry IWH, Walls M, Harrington W (2007) Automobile externalities and policies. J Econ Literature 45(2):373–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pucher J, Buehler R (2005) Transport policies in central and Eastern Europe. In: Button K, Hensher D (eds) Handbook of transport strategy, policy and institutions, vol. 6. Elsevier Press, Handbooks in Transport, Amsterdam, pp 725–743Google Scholar
  20. Ryan L, Ferreira S, Convery F (2009) The impact of fiscal and other measures on new passenger car sales and CO2 emissions intensity: evidence from Europe. Energy Econ 31(3):365–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sallee JM (2010) The taxation of fuel economy. NBER Working Paper No. 16466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sallee JM, Slemrod J (2010) Car notches: strategic automaker responses to fuel economy policy. NBER Working Paper No. 16604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schäfer A, Heywood JB, Jacoby HD, Waitz IA (2009) Transportation in a climate-constrained world. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  24. Schipper L (2010a) Automobile use, fuel economy and CO2 emissions in industrialized countries: encouraging trends through 2008? Transport Policy 18:358–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schipper L (2010b) Car Crazy: the Perils of Hypermotorization in Asia. Global Asia 4(4). Last accessed Mar 2011
  26. Schipper L, Fulton L (2009) Disappointed by diesel? The impact of the shift to diesels in Europe through 2006. Transportation Research Record 2139Google Scholar
  27. Schipper L, Grubb M (2000) On the rebound? Feedback between energy intensities and energy uses in IEA countries. Energy Policy 28:367–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schipper L, Hedges E (2011) The impact of new passenger vehicle changes and the shift to diesel on the European Union’s CO2 emissions intensity. 2011 Transportation Research Board Meeting, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  29. Schipper L, Ng W-S (2005) In: Baumert KA, Bradley R (eds) Growing in the greenhouse: protecting the climate by putting development first. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. Schipper L, Tax W (1994) New car test and actual fuel economy: Yet another gap? Transport Policy 1(2):1–9Google Scholar
  31. Schipper L, Deakin E, McAndrews C (2011) Carbon dioxide emissions from urban road transport in Latin America: CO2 reduction as a co-benefit of transport strategies. In: Rothengatter W, Hayashi Y, Schade W (eds) Transport moving to climate intelligence. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  32. Schipper L, Fabian H, Leather J (2009a) Transport and carbon dioxide emissions: forecasts, options analysis, and evaluation. ADB Sustainable Development Working Paper Series No. 9, Asian Development Bank, Manila, PhilippinesGoogle Scholar
  33. Schipper L, Marie-Lilliu C, Gorham R (2000) Flexing the link between transport and greenhouse gases: a path for the world bank. International Energy Agency, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  34. Schipper L, McAndres C, Deakin E, Scholl L, Frick K (2009b) Considering climate change in Latin American and Caribbean Urban transportation: concepts, applications, and cases. Prepared for the World Bank. Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  35. Schipper L, Tuan LA, Oern H, Cordeiro M, Ng WS, Liska R (2008) Measuring the invisible: quantifying emissions reductions from transport solutions – Hanoi case study. EMBARQ - World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, March. Last accessed Mar 2011Google Scholar
  36. Schipper L, Price-Davies G, Marie-Lilliu C (2001) Rapid motorisation in the largest countries in Asia: implication for oil, carbon dioxide and transportation. International Energy Agency, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  37. Small K, Kazimi C (1995) On the costs of air pollution from motor vehicles. J Transport Econ Policy 29(1):7–32Google Scholar
  38. Smokers RTM, Vermeulen R, van Mieghem R, Gense R, Skinner I, Fergusson M, MacKay E, ten Brink P, Fontaras G, Samaras Z (2006) Review and analysis of the reduction potential and costs of technological and other measures to reduce CO2-emissions from passenger cars. Final Report Contract nr. SI2.408212, 31 October 2006Google Scholar
  39. Sperling D, Gordon D (2009) Two billion cars. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Sprei F (2010) Energy efficiency versus gains in consumer amenities. Examples from passenger cars and the Swedish building sector. PhD. Thesis. Chalmers University, Gothenburg, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  41. Stern N (2006) Stern review: the economics of climate change: executive summary.
  42. Tessier O, Meunier L (2010) Commisariat du plan. Le Point Sur 53, May 2010 and Boutin X, Haultfoeuille X, Givord P, (2010) The environmental effect of green taxation: the case of the French Bonus-Malus. Prepared for the 11th CEPR Conference on Applied Industrial Organization. Toulouse FranceGoogle Scholar
  43. Trafikverket (2011) Ökade utsläpp från vägtrafiken trots rekordartad energieffektivisering av nya bilar. PM 2011-02-18. Boerlaenge: Trafikverket (Swedish Traffic Authority)Google Scholar
  44. Winston C, Shirley C (1998) Alternate route. Towards efficient public transportation. Brookings Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. World Bank (2008) A strategic framework for urban transportation projects: operational guidance for world bank staff. Prepared by Slobodan Mitrič. Transport Papers. Washington, DC, TP-15, January 2008Google Scholar
  46. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (2004) Mobility 2030: meeting the challenges to sustainability: the sustainable mobility project.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Schipper†
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Precourt Energy Efficiency CentreStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Global Metropolitan StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations