Working papers in Transport Economics
Why do CO2 emissions from heavy road freight transports increase in spite of higher fuel prices?
Abstract: The paper analyses why CO2 emissions from heavy road
freight transports increase in spite of higher fuel prices. Swedish time
series data for the period 1990-2011 are analyzed with help of indicators.
The logistic efficiency of the road transports improved especially in the
1990-ties due to the allowance of heavier trucks. Also the energy
efficiency increased during that period. Since then there have been
improvements but no major efficiency gains have been realized. Today
potentially cost effective technologies exist to further reduce the CO2
emissions from heavy road freight transport. However, technical,
institutional and financial barriers reduce the incentives for the
transport firms to imply these. Split incentives caused by contract
structures or ownership patterns can impede the employment of these
technologies, as the firms that invest in the technologies have little
incentive to do so. If fuel savings are realized rebound effects can appear
that cancel out improved energy efficiency. The internalisation of the
social marginal costs can lead to modal shifts to less carbon intensive
modes, but shippers minimize their total costs and take into account
quality aspects when choosing transport solutions. There are obstacles for
the increase of the share of non-fossil energies in form of access to raw
material, infrastructure for vehicles that can use the alternative fuels
etc. On the national and international road freight transport markets staff
costs are often more important than taxes and fees. Deeper knowledge of the
impacts of different policy measures is required in order to understand why
the CO2 emissions increase despite increased fuel prices. A better
understanding of the implications of the lack of thresholds and other model
simplifications in the Swedish Samgods model is also needed and an analysis
of what is required to better mirror the contracts that we observe in
reality. It is also necessary to study the role of the lighter trucks in
the transport chains.
Keywords: CO2 emissions; Road freight transport; Climate policy measures; Barriers; Split incentives; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: R41; R48; (follow links to similar papers)
25 pages, May 8, 2013
This paper is published as:Transport Research Arena (TRA) 5th Conference: Transport Solutions from Research to Deployment. Paris, France, April 14-17, 2014
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Full text versions of the paper:
- This paper is published as:
Vierth, Inge, (2016), 'Why do CO2 emissions from heavy road freight transports increase in spite of higher fuel prices?' in André, Michel and Zissis Samaras (eds.) Energy and environment, Vol. 1, Science, Society and New Technologies: Research for Innovation Transports, chapter 17, Wiley.
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