Environmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UK

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Environmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UK

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  • 1. Earth & E-nvironment 3: 282-317University of Leeds PressEnvironmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UKRichard S. Ward-JonesSchool of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, W. Yorkshire LS2 9JT; Tel: 0113 3436461AbstractThis paper reports on environmentally friendly cars and how their use can be promoted andincreased in the UK. It is based on a review of the academic literature on alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)and their current use and promotion schemes, as well as a public survey and interviews with experts inorder to gather an overview of what may influence or encourage the public to purchase an EFV.Having acknowledged transport emissions as both the fastest rising cause of greenhouse gases(GHGs) in the UK and accounting for around 25% of all UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, there isclearly an urgent need to reduce them. Herein lies the role of the environmentally friendly vehicle (EFV).The study identifies the different available alternative vehicle technologies, their advantages anddisadvantages and goes on to establish that the current lack of environmentally friendly cars can beattributed to a number of factors, predominantly a lack of public awareness and the additional costsinvolved with alternative technologies.Current promotion schemes are examined and shown to be relatively ineffective in increasing theuse of EFVs. Following the combined analysis of past literature and study results, recommendations weremade on how to promote and increase the use of EFVs. The indicated strategy stated that a campaign topromote knowledge and awareness of EFVs would be necessary in conjunction with fiscal incentives anddevelopment of the alternative fuel/vehicle infrastructure.In conclusion it seems that EFVs can and must have an instrumental role in reducing GHGemissions from transport. A strategy to promote and increase the use of environmentally friendly cars is anessential step towards achieving zero emissions from road transport; however it can not be expected tohave an immediate effect. Instead it is likely that it will take until 2050 for EFVs to occupy a significantproportion of the market..ISSN 1744-2893 (Online) University of Leeds

2. Ward-Jones RS (2008) Environmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UK.Earth & E-nvironment 3:282-3171 IntroductionGlobal warming is a reality which was acknowledged by governments at the Rio summit in 1992and at Kyoto in 1997 (Cannell, 1999). Not only was it acknowledged but it is also generallyaccepted that the global climate is changing as a result of anthropogenic activities (IPCCa, 2001).Caused by the release of greenhouse gases, climate change (CC) is one of the biggest challengesfacing the global community today (LCVPa 2005, Orindi & Murray 2005).In looking at the causes of climate change, transport is one of the key factors amplifying thecurrent situation (Kwon, 2005). Transport emissions are the fastest rising cause of greenhousegases (GHGs) and account for around 25% of all UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (Brevitt2002, Foley 2003, SMMTa 2006 & Price et al. 1998). Between 1970 and 2000 in the UK,emissions from road transport increased by 93% (Kwon, 2005). This increase is expected tocontinue into the foreseeable future, with emissions from transport expected to be higher in 2020than they were in 1990 (Tight et al, 2005). Figure 1.1 shows that of all the polluting sectors,transport is the only one with predicted emissions due to increase during this period as well asshowing that transport will become the UKs leading GHG emissions sector soon after 2020.Both of these highlight the seriousness of the issue of transports contribution to climate change.Figure 1.1 A Table showing UK GHG emissions by sector (MtC) (Source Tight et al. 2005)The problem of reducing emissions from transport is very difficult. This is due to modernsocietys ever increasing reliance on and use of transport. In 2002, car sales reached a record 2.5million, 11% higher than in 2000 (SMMTb, 2006) and they continue to increase albeit at areduced rate in recent years. Major policies have been introduced during the last decade in orderto reduce emissions from transport but their success has been limited. They include EuropeanPolicy: the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) a voluntary agreementwhich requires car manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars by at least 25% by2008-2009; and National Policy: A new deal for transport, better for everyone - 1998 White Paper(DFTa, 1998), The Transport Ten Year Plan 2000 (DFTb, 2000) and The Future of Transport WhitePaper (DFTc, 2004). Within these national policies there is much talk about an integratedapproach to transport, better public transport and increased environmental standards of vehiclesand infrastructure.Although these policies have caused significant improvements in vehicle technology, particularlyin fuel efficiency (as reduced CO2 emissions), these have not been enough to neutralise the effectof increases in traffic and car size (EUROPA, 2007). The intentions of these policies areunquestionably good, but results are not being seen fast enough, especially not to meet any of thecurrent targets.- 283 - 3. Ward-Jones RS (2008) Environmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UK.Earth & E-nvironment 3:282-317 Figure 1.2 Graph showing reduction in emissions per vehicle 1995 2008 (Source: DFTc (Crowncopyright) 2004)As shown by Figure 1.2, emission reduction policies are not on target. CO2 emissions per vehiclein 2004 were 12.4% lower than in 1990, way off target for being 25% lower by 2008 (Times 2006& DFTc 2004). There are many reasons that these targets are not being met, firstly punishmentsfor not meeting the targets set by these policies are either not strict enough or the policiesthemselves are voluntary and car manufacturers are taking advantage of this. As well as this, thereis a lack of campaigning to encourage public interest in sustainable transport and too fewpractical alternatives to the petrol car currently exist. So, the question of how we can significantlyreduce emissions from transport is becoming increasingly important. As more people arebecoming more concerned about emissions from transport, augmented pressure is being put onboth car manufacturers and the government to consider a different approach.This different approach is to look at the role of environmentally friendly cars in combatingclimate change. Low carbon car technologies and fuels present car manufacturers, fuel suppliersand the Government with one of the principal means of reducing the CO2 emissions from roadtransport (Foley, 2003). However, the current situation is hugely complex, with many factorsaffecting the development and marketing of low carbon car technologies. These complexitieshave meant that the sales of alternatively fueled vehicles have remained extremely low,accounting for only 0.26% of new car sales in 2005 (SMMTa, 2006). Still, the news is not all bad.Figure 1.3 shows that the sales of alternatively fueled vehicles have increased sevenfold between2000 and 2005 and although they are still low, it seems that they are starting to increase.Figure 1.3 A graph to show the sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (Source SMMTa, 2006)- 284 - 4. Ward-Jones RS (2008) Environmentally Friendly Cars: Promoting and increasing their use in the UK. Earth & E-nvironment 3:282-317The government has recently introduced a new target requiring one in ten new cars sold in theUK to be low carbon with exhaust emissions of 100 g/km of CO2 or less by 2012 (Foley, 2003).In order to meet this target, the market for green cars must be promoted to increase their sales.The technology for environmentally friendly cars exists, but there is not enough demand todevelop this technology or to produce a substantial number of green cars. There is also a lack ofresearch into how it would be possible to promote and increase the use of environmentallyfriendly cars. This gap in the research, once filled, could help to identify strategies for promotinggreen cars, therefore increasing their use.1.1 Research QuestionsThe market for environmentally friendly cars has not followed predicted growth trends. Thegreen car market accounts for a tiny minority of cars sold and its promotion/development couldhelp to significantly decrease CO2 emissions from transport, which are currently the fastest risingcause of global warming in the UK (Brevitt, 2002).Questions which arise from this statement include:1. What are the reasons behind the lack of environmentally friendly cars being sold? (Design? Performance? Comfort? Cost? Reliability? Lack of marketing/advertising? Lack of knowledge? Symbolism?)2. What more can be done in order to promote and increase the use of environmentally friendly cars?3. What do the public feel would influence them to buy an environmentally friendly car?4. When is it likely that green cars will occupy a more substantial part of the motor vehicle market?1.2 Aims & ObjectivesThe main aim of this project is to look at the reasons behind the current lack of environmentallyfriendly cars on the road and how it would be possible to increase and promote their use.In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to: Review the literature on environmentally friendly cars in order to determine reasons why their market has not developed Investigate public and professional opinion through surveys and interviews on why green cars have not become mainstream and what can be done to promote their use Analyse the results from the interviews and surveys, highlighting any common trends Evaluate primary and secondary data in order to recommend possible strategies which may positively influence the promotion of the green car market Provide a clear and concise conclusion which identifies the projects main findings.2 Literature