University of California Transportation Center
Emission Control Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative-Fuel Vehicles
- Author(s): Wang, Quanlu
- Sperling, Daniel
- Olmstead, Janis
- et al.
Although various legislation and regulations have been adopted to promote the use of alternative-fuel vehicles for curbing urban air pollution problems, there is a lack of systematic comparisons of emission control cost-effectiveness among various alternative-fuel vehicle types. In this paper, life-cycle emission reductions and life-cycle costs were estimated for passenger cars fueled with methanol, ethanol, liquified petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, and electricity. Vehicle emission estimates included both exhaust and evaporative emissions for air pollutants of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and air-toxic pollutants of benzene, formaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, and acetaldehyde. Vehicle life-cycle cost estimates accounted for vehicle purchase prices, vehicle life, fuel costs, and vehicle maintenance costs.
Emission control cost-effectiveness presented in dollars per ton of emission reduction was calculated for each alternative-fuel vehicle type from the estimated vehicle life-cycle emission reductions and costs. Among various alternative-fuel vehicle types, compressed natural gas vehicles are the most cost-effective vehicle type in controlling vehicle emissions. Dedicated methanol vehicles are the next most cost-effective vehicle type. The cost-effectiveness of electric vehicles depends on improvements in electric vehicle battery technology. With low-cost, high-performance batteries, electric vehicles are more cost-effective than methanol, ethanol, and liquified petroleum gas vehicles.