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Testing the Validity of the Soft/Hard Energy Framework: Biomass Fuels for Transportation

UCD-ITS-RP-85-01

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Suggested Citation:
Sperling, Daniel (1985) Testing the Validity of the Soft/Hard Energy Framework: Biomass Fuels for Transportation. Transportation Research Part A 19 (3), 227 - 242

The notion of hard and soft choices has increasingly served as the organizing framework for energy policy debates since the late 1970s. It has been implicitly assumed that this view is relevant to transportation energy choices. This paper specifies the likely attributes of future biomass fuel systems, and then tests them against criteria that categorize energy options as hard or soft. It is found that the hard/soft framework does not provide a robust, accurate or relevant model for analyzing biomass fuel options and therefore, by extension, is an inappropriate framework of analysis for the transportation sector. A redrawn framework is needed that is based more explicitly on core precepts of soft and hard paths, and that directly addresses energy and transportation choices as derived demands.