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

  • Lee Schipper†
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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.

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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

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