Decarbonizing Light-Duty Vehicles

31 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2018 Last revised: 20 Dec 2018

See all articles by Amy L. Stein

Amy L. Stein

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Joshua P. Fershee

Dean & Professor of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2018


To reduce the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 will require multiple legal pathways for changing its transportation fuel sources. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) authors characterize the transformation required of the transportation system as part of the third pillar of fundamental changes required in the U.S. energy system: “fuel switching of end uses to electricity and other low-carbon supplies.” Relying upon the 2015 DDPP analysis, this article addresses that challenge as applied to light-duty vehicles (LDVs) such as cars and sport utility vehicles. Specifically, the DDPP authors anticipate two changes required for our LDV fleet by 2050: (1) increased fuel economy standards in excess of 100 miles per gallon; and (2) deployment of approximately 300 million alternative fuel vehicles, which for purposes of this article consists of electric vehicles, hybrids (electric and gas), and hydrogen vehicles. The goal is to shift 80%-95% of the miles driven from gasoline to lower carbon energy sources like electricity and hydrogen. This article identifies key legal pathways to advance these two goals, focusing on actions to both facilitate the growth of alternative fuel vehicles and to limit the production and use of gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles.

Keywords: Energy, environment, law, greenhouse gases, vehicles, light-duty, hydrogen, hybrid, decarbonization, climate

JEL Classification: K32, Q28 Q42, Q48, R50, Q48, Q43, Q52, Q54, Q55, R40, R41, R42, R48

Suggested Citation

Stein, Amy L. and Fershee, Joshua Paul, Decarbonizing Light-Duty Vehicles (July 1, 2018). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 48, No. 7, 2018, WVU College of Law Research Paper No. 2018-006, University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 19-4, Available at SSRN:

Amy L. Stein

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352-273-0953 (Phone)

Joshua Paul Fershee (Contact Author)

Dean & Professor of Law ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States
402-280-2348 (Phone)

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