Alternative Fuels Need More Than Hype to Drive Transportation Market

Policymakers who want to decarbonize the transportation sector will need to move beyond hype and find better ways to assess and sustain promising technologies and fuels, suggests a study from Simon Fraser University, Canadian consulting firm Navius Research, and the University of California, Davis. “Technology hype is a highly inefficient, but natural, phenomenon,” said co-author and professor Dan Sperling, founding director of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. “The challenge is to fashion policies and strategies that acknowledge and harness hype as we transition to low-carbon fuels and vehicles.” The study, published in the journal Nature Energy, looks unsparingly at the history of hype around alternative fuel vehicles and what policies and innovations are needed to move from current shortfalls to widespread commercialization of low-carbon vehicles.