Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining the Costs and Benefits of Technology Pathways for Reducing Fuel Use and Emissions from On-road Heavy-duty Vehicles in California
by Sharpe, Benjamin Rodriguez, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2013, 436; 3596948
Abstract (Summary)

In California and many places around the world, exhaust from heavy-duty (HD) diesel vehicles accounts for a major fraction of criteria pollutant emissions such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), and HD vehicles are a significant consumer of petroleum-based fuels and a growing contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California has been a leader in implementing a broad range of policy measures that promote the development and deployment of fuels and technologies to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from HD vehicles. This dissertation formulates an analytical method to investigate the costs and benefits of various technology pathways for HD vehicles that result in drastic reductions in criteria pollutant and GHG emissions.

Though there are several studies that estimate the fuel use and emissions contribution of HD vehicles in California and the implications of accelerated advanced technology adoption over time, no studies investigate both the end-user and externality cost impacts of these sweeping technology changes to the HD fleet. This dissertation begins to fill this research gap. Taken together, private and external costs represent an approximation of total societal costs, which is used in a cost-benefit framework to explore the impact of various scenarios for introducing advanced fuel and technologies in the HD vehicle fleet out to 2050. The primary objective of this research is to examine the comparative emissions, fuel use, and total societal costs of six discrete technology adoption scenarios for California HD vehicles between 2010 and 2050.

The results indicate that, compared to the Baseline, the five remaining scenarios provide net present value (NPV) savings between roughly 5% and 10% and significant reductions in emissions and fuel use. Total costs are dominated by vehicle retail, fuel, and maintenance expenses, and monetized externalities generally account for less than 5% of total costs. Compared to the Baseline, reduced petroleum-based fuel use makes up roughly 90% or more of the cost savings for each of the non-Baseline scenarios.

For the HD fleet, reaching an 80% reduction in GHG emissions versus 1990 levels by 2050 requires that vehicle sales shift almost completely to zero tailpipe emission technologies by 2030, annual fuel consumption reductions in new vehicles are between 2% and 4% per year, and fuel feedstocks transition to low-carbon pathways. Results from this research suggest that if California is to dramatically transform the HD vehicle fleet over such a short timeframe, a combination of strong incentive programs and technology-forcing regulations are required.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kendall, Alissa
Commitee: Delucchi, Mark A., Sperling, Daniel
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental economics, Civil engineering
Keywords: California, Cost-benefit analysis, Fuel use, Greenhouse gas emissions, Heavy-duty vehicles, Technology
Publication Number: 3596948
ISBN: 9781303443824
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