• tariff and nontariff import barriers—used by many countries, including China, to protect their domestic industry during the early stages of development

  • vehicle and fuel taxes—used to support or discourage the purchase and use of vehicles and fuels and to favor one technology or fuel over another

  • prescriptive and performance standards—used by government to force certain vehicle attributes (e.g., low emissions, good fuel economy) or technologies (e.g., air bags)

  • direct and indirect investment—used to assist industry with capital, tax relief, and support for research and development (e.g., the U.S. Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program in which government joined industry in funding research) or in building assembly plants.

One area in which most governments have intervened is reducing air pollution. Generally, a motor vehicle pollution control program seeks to reduce vehicle emissions to the degree necessary to achieve healthy air quality as rapidly as possible within the practical limits of effective technological, economic, and social constraints. A comprehensive strategy to achieve this goal usually includes four key components: increasingly stringent emissions standards for new vehicles, which require new technology; specifications for clean fuels; programs to ensure proper maintenance of in-use vehicles; and traffic and demand management (see Figure 8-1 and Box 8-1).

FIGURE 8-1 Elements of a comprehensive vehicle pollution control strategy. SOURCE: Michael P. Walsh.

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