econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 30 October 2016

Are Priority Measures For Electric Cars Really A Good Idea?

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Steve Dudhill, Nottingham Trent University

With as many as 40,000 premature deaths linked to air pollution each year, five UK cities are considering a novel approach to reduce emissions. Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton may adopt “clean air zones", where electric cars are given priority, as part of a £40m government initiative to tackle pollution. By 2020, the drivers of electric vehicles could have their own designated lanes, priority at traffic lights and exemptions from one-way systems.

Transport currently contributes about 21% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s clear that efforts should be made to reduce pollution from road traffic - not least because the Supreme Court has ordered the government to do so. Indeed, action on air pollution is widely supported in principle (if not in practice) by the public

Yet there’s a real risk that, without proper thought or consultation, the plans could become a white elephant, especially if they create more congestion, affect road safety or fail to make electric vehicles a more appealing option for drivers.

Expensive and unproven

Registrations of ultra-low emissions vehicles, such as plug-in electric cars, are rising. Between April and June 2016, some 9,700 electric vehicles were registered, compared with almost 2,700 in the same period in 2014.

But while this represents a substantial rise of about 250%, the increase comes from a low base. The actual numbers of electric vehicles are marginal, with about 90,000 cars and vans compared to a total of 36.5m vehicles on the UK’s roads.

While prioritising electric vehicles may provide quicker and cleaner travel and help to improve air quality, there’s some doubt that it will actually encourage significantly more people to use electric cars.

For many, electric cars remain an expensive and unproven option. They’re not likely to become cheaper to own until the 2020s, and even that will depend on the price of oil and the development of battery technology. In the meantime, some drivers may feel that the lack of charging points throughout most cities would limit the range and curtail the convenience of electric cars.

But is it green electricity? from www.shutterstock.com

Also, not all owners would use sustainable sources of power when recharging. Currently, less than a quarter of the UK’s energy is generated from renewable sources, so it’s not clear that encouraging the use of electric cars will lead to significant reductions in emissions.

So, it seems likely that many drivers will still opt for fossil-fuel cars over electric ones. Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that those who do purchase electric vehicles will have destinations served by the priority measures.

Traffic jam

There are still further concerns with the schemes: if the priority lanes are poorly designed, it could actually increase congestion and pollution in cities. There’s little point in keeping petrol or diesel engines ticking over in heavy traffic, when the overall objective of the scheme is to reduce emissions. And in any case, if the lanes are not properly enforced then they could be subject to misuse. Similar issues face proposals to give electric cars priority at traffic signals.

Allowing electric vehicles to travel in their own lanes in the opposite direction to an established one-way system could increase congestion at the points where the electric vehicles enter and leave the new lanes. Worse, road safety could be compromised if pedestrians are unaware of electric vehicles - which are quieter than conventional vehicles - approaching from the “wrong" direction.

So, the benefits arising from such schemes may only apply at the margins. It’s possible that £40m might be better spent on more direct ways of encouraging a switch to electric cars - for example, through subsidising the cost of buying one.

It might be even better to invest in reducing congestion on key routes, while controlling demand for car use through heavier restrictions and increased charges on parking.

Approaches such as these could yield greater benefits in reducing emissions in a more direct and measurable way, which may prove more acceptable to the public, who might otherwise see preferential electric car priority schemes as a waste of space.

The ConversationSteve Dudhill, Lecturer/Senior Lecturer & BSc Course Leader, Nottingham Trent University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical Opinion Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Opinion


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Big Mess in Italy
Are You Feeling the Economic Surge?
News Blog
Are All Collateralized Loan Obligations Equal?
A Third Of Homes Sold For The List Price Or More In August 2016
It Is Still Not Too Late To Find A Seasonal Job
Infographic Of The Day: Are You A Good Listener
Early Headlines: Italy Votes 'No', Renzi Resigns, Euro Plunges 2 Pct, Asia Stocks Down, Trump Foreign Policy By Tweet, Dakota Pipeline Stopped, India Serv. PMI Contracts And More
Most Read Articles Last Week Ending 03 December
The World's Most Creative Cities
The Countries Where People Aren't Interested In Politics
Fidel Castro And The Revolution That Almost Wasn't
America Trumps Allies In Defense Spending
What We Read Today 04 December 2016
How Much Money It Costs To Make Money
Multiple Jobs Needed To Make Ends Meet
Investing Blog
Market Sector Analysis: 04 December 2016
Trumponomics: The New Hope
Opinion Blog
The Labor Market Working Nine To Five
Why Did Trump Win? A Different Perspective, Part 3
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
02Dec2016 Market Close: WTI Crude Climbed Back Up To Previous 51 Handle, US Dollar Index Trading At The100 Level, Oil Rig Count At 10-Month High
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved