FINDING. The policies and measures needed to achieve the petroleum and GHG emissions reduction goals stated in the committee’s statement of task will be implemented by more than one federal agency, as well as coordinated with state and local jurisdictions. Moreover, as experience is gained and new information becomes available, adjustments will be needed and will be coordinated across the implementing agencies.

POLICY OPTION. To meet the petroleum-use and GHG reduction goals stated in the statement of task, the committee considers it desirable to define a federal light-duty vehicle petroleum and GHG emissions reduction policy with the following elements:

Establish overall goals (e.g., via congressional action).

Assign relevant federal agencies having jurisdiction over LDV energy use and GHG emissions, in collaboration with the other relevant federal, state, and local agencies, to carry out periodic assessments of progress against the goals and to report the results. The assessments would include:

—Quantifying progress to date and assessing the efficacy of the programs and policies in use for reducing petroleum use and GHG emissions;

—Identifying the causes of emerging shortfalls in meeting the goals, and the steps being taken and planned to remedy those shortfalls, consistent with the authority of the implementing agencies; and

—Identifying changes in implementing authority needed to remedy shortfalls and recommending those changes to Congress.

If national policies are established to address these issues more broadly across the economy, then this LDV sector adaptive policy should be coordinated with, and appropriately incorporated within, the overall national energy and climate policy framework.


FINDING. The committee considers that a vigorous program of public information and education is essential to the success of the other recommended policies and thus to achievement of the twin goals of reduced GHG emissions and reduced use of petroleum-based fuels. Increased research regarding public understanding and attitudes associated with these issues would inform the design of improved public information and education programs. Because the payoff of public education and information programs is long term and is typically measured in public benefit rather than direct financial return, it is critical that government be involved in developing and fostering such programs, because they tend to be underprovided by the private sector.

POLICY OPTION. If the United States is to achieve the goals of reduced petroleum use and reduced GHG emissions from the LDV fleet, then U.S. policy makers could develop public programs aimed at informing consumers of the goals to be achieved, the reasons such achievement is necessary, and the nature of the costs and benefits—individual and societal—to be derived from the policies being implemented.

As noted elsewhere in this report, the committee has differing views regarding the value of public promotion of specific alternative vehicle and fuel technologies, a difference of view that carries over into public information policy. Where there is agreement is in the value of informing consumers about the broad importance of the national goals, the connection with fuel economy and perhaps other objective vehicle environmental performance metrics to these goals, and the value of choosing highly fuel-efficient vehicles accordingly.


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