Publication Detail

Regulatory and Technology Lead-time: The Case of U.S. Automobile Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

UCD-ITS-RP-12-09

Reprint

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

Suggested Citation:
Lutsey, Nicholas P. (2012) Regulatory and Technology Lead-time: The Case of U.S. Automobile Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards. Transport Policy 21, 179 - 190

The automobile industry and regulatory agencies around the world are coping with the uncertainties of regulatory lead-time and technology deployment for increased vehicle efficiency and reduced green- house gas (GHG) emissions. The regulation of GHG emissions in the US, with adoption of 2016 standards and ongoing work toward 2025 standards, provides a rich case study to assess questions about the appropriate amount of lead-time to promote sustained long-term investment in vehicle efficiency technology. This analysis examines the milestones, phase-in, lead-time, investments, technology diffusion, and GHG emission progress-to-date toward 2016 standards in the US. The findings suggest that the 2016 rulemaking process establishes a strong model for regulatory lead-time, allowing for ample time for industry to make the necessary investments to meet their GHG reduction commitments by 2016. The 2025 rulemaking continues this strong precedent for extended regulatory lead-time and has led to near unanimous automaker support. The 13-year lead-time for 2025 standards is appropriate to help reduce technology investment risk and sustain long-term capital investments, and it is especially fitting for the difficult task of launching advanced electric-drive technologies for deep long-term GHG emission cuts.

Keywords: vehicle, regulation, lead-time