Global Regulations Run the Gamut

By John Eichberger | February 2017

“All politics is local.” Tip O’Neil’s most famous quote may not seem appropriate for a discussion about emissions regulations, but when one peals back the onion on global initiatives it seems consistent with reality. While the effect of emissions is not restricted by political boundaries, the regulations that affect them clearly are and deserve attention to better understand the direction in which they may affect the future of the transportation energy market.

Global initiatives designed to reduce emissions from the transportation sector are well recognized. For example, by November 2016, 131 nations had ratified the Paris 2015 climate change accords, incorporating more than 55% of global emissions and putting into effect the agreement by nations to reduce their carbon emissions. There also is a Global Fuel Efficiency Initiative which is dedicated to improving the efficiency of the light duty vehicle fleet. Clearly, such program cross borders and require collaboration between governments.

But how many people are familiar with national and regional initiatives that could have a significant effect on the transportation energy sector? Spoiler alert – there are a bunch of them.

Later this year, the Fuels Institute intends to release a white paper identifying some of these initiatives, but I thought it would be interesting to share some of them with you now:

  • Norway seeks to require only zero-emissions vehicles (primarily battery electric or fuel cell) be sold by 2025
  • Germany’s upper house of parliament supported a proposal to push Europe to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2030
  • Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City seek to ban diesel-powered vehicles by 2025
  • Mexico City implemented Hoy No Circula (today [your car] does not circulate), a program which seeks to take 20-40% of vehicles off the streets and imposes fines for violations
  • Santiago, Chile restricts the operation of older vehicles during certain days of the week in winter months
  • London has considered a parking surcharge for diesel vehicles

The extent of such initiatives, combined with the more recognizable global programs, re-enforces the need to seriously consider the direction of the transportation market. From vehicle design to the movement of transportation energy, these initiatives will ultimately have an impact on product availability and diversity.

Unfortunately, there is far too little cross-border communication between governments and industry stakeholders. If we could unlock the formula to promote collaboration across borders, it may be possible to achieve a consistent strategic approach to market development, lower the cost of transition and achieve greater success in protecting the environment.

The Fuels Institute is looking outside of North America, to better understand the issues affecting market stakeholders around the globe. The goal is to facilitate the exchange of information and experience to enhance market opportunities. If you are interested in understanding more about this more global perspective, let us know – we welcome your input.

Even if we look back further in time, we see only limited growth in the expansion of these powertrains. Since 2012, sales growth in electric powertrains has been anemic. Although BEV unit sales are up about 550% and PHEVs are up 83%, the impact on market share has been less than impressive. At the same time, hybrids have lost favor, with unit sales dropping 21% since 2012.

 

Read more from the February Issue of our Fuel for Thought newsletter.