Passenger vehicles

Passenger vehicles

Passenger cars, light trucks and vans, motorcycles, scooters, and other two- and three-wheeled vehicles account for about a third of global oil demand and produce about half of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. And while great strides have been made in controlling pollutant emissions from light-duty vehicles that contribute to local air pollution—carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates, other air toxins—those vehicles are still a significant cause of unhealthy air worldwide, particularly near major roadways and in urban areas with a high concentration of vehicle activity. Efficiency standards are reducing oil consumption and GHG emissions from the growing light-duty fleet, but more forceful public policy action to extend efficiency standards and complementary fiscal policies, ensure manufacturers’ real cooperation with policy goals, and support a technological transition to zero-emission vehicles is needed if we are to effectively manage the future climate and health effects of the light-duty vehicle sector.

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About the program

Passenger cars, light trucks and vans, motorcycles, scooters, and other two- and three-wheeled vehicles account for about a third of global oil demand and produce about half of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. And while great strides have been made in controlling pollutant emissions from light-duty vehicles that contribute to local air pollution—carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates, other air toxins—those vehicles are still a significant cause of unhealthy air worldwide, particularly near major roadways and in urban areas with a high concentration of vehicle activity. Efficiency standards are reducing oil consumption and GHG emissions from the growing light-duty fleet, but more forceful public policy action to extend efficiency standards and complementary fiscal policies, ensure manufacturers’ real cooperation with policy goals, and support a technological transition to zero-emission vehicles is needed if we are to effectively manage the future climate and health effects of the light-duty vehicle sector.

The ICCT’s passenger vehicle program works with regulatory agencies as well as other government officials, researchers, nongovernmental organizations, and private-sector stakeholders to reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse-gas emissions, and air pollution from the global light-duty vehicle fleet, beginning with the essential task of protecting and extending the gains that have been made through existing efficiency standards. Our research staff works to assess technology trends, evaluate benefits and costs of advanced technologies, understand and communicate best-practice knowledge of effective design of emission, fuel efficiency and GHG standards, fiscal incentives, and consumer information programs, and support a long-term technological transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Road transportation is one of the leading sources of outdoor air pollution in Southern and Western Africa, particularly in cities, where emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles, minibuses, buses, and two-and three-wheelers continue to negatively affect public health, making motor vehicles a central area for rapid policy response. (From Developing a roadmap for the adoption of clean fuel and vehicle standards in Southern and Western Africa.)

Recent publications

From laboratory to road: A 2017 update

This update adds one new data source, for a total of 14, covering 16 years, eight countries, and approximately 1.1 million cars. The analysis shows that, in the EU, the gap between official and real-world CO2 emission values continues to grow—from 9% in 2001 to 42% in 2016.

2017.11.05 | White paper
From laboratory to road international: A comparison of official and real-world fuel consumption and CO2 values for passenger cars in Europe, the United States, China, and Japan

Investigates the gap between real-world and official CO2 emission values in the four largest vehicle markets in the world: China, the EU, Japan, and the United States. The analysis shows that the gap has increased in all markets since 2001. 

2017.11.05 | White paper
2020-2030 CO2 standards for new cars and light-commercial vehicles in the European Union

A synopsis of key findings from previous ICCT studies relevant to a 2025–2030 standard in the EU, including technology potential and associated compliance cost, the role of electrified vehicles, and the switch to a new emissions testing procedure.

2017.10.26 | Briefing
See all publications

Staff blog

Early Christmas present to the car industry, or lump of coal? The European Commission regulatory proposal for reducing new vehicle CO2 emissions post-2020

A first reaction to the European Commission's proposal, released yesterday, for extending the new-car and light-commercial vehicle CO2 emissions standards out to 2030.

Staff

Program Director / Regional Lead
Senior Fellow / Regional Co-Lead
Senior Researcher / Regional Lead
Chief Program Officer
Program Director / Regional Co-Lead
Peter Mock
EU Managing Director / Regional Lead
Peter Slowik
Associate Researcher