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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Light-Duty Vehicle Exhaust Emission Control Cost Estimates Using a Part-Pricing Approach

  • Author(s): Wang, Quanlu
  • Kling, Catherine
  • Sperling, Daniel
  • et al.

The substantial reductions in motor vehicle emissions that have occurred since the late 1960s have been accompanied by continuous increases in vehicle emission control costs, and cost increases or decreases due to changes in vehicle performance such as driveability, power, fuel economy, and vehicle maintenance. In this paper, a systematic approach has been developed to estimate emission control costs for motor vehicles. The approach accounts for all emission control parts installed on vehicles, and the costs of these emission parts are estimated through their prices. This paper does not estimate costs of the changes in vehicle performance and maintenance caused by emission control.

Using information on emission control parts and their prices for new light-duty vehicles sold in California in 1990, per-vehicle control costs and total control costs for all new light-duty vehicles have been estimated. The cost to vehicle manufacturers per vehicle for emission control ranges from $220 to $1,460, depending on vehicle size and manufacturer. The sales-weighted average cost to manufacturers is $445 per vehicle. The total cost of emission control technology for 1990 light-duty vehicles sold in California is estimated to be about $698 million.

The corresponding cost to consumers per vehicle for emission control ranges from $370 to $2,430, with a sales-weighted average of $748. The total cost for emission control of 1990 light-duty vehicles sold in California is about $1.2 billion to consumers. Per-vehicle costs for vehicles sold elsewhere in the U.S. in 1990 are similar since emission standards were similar that year.

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