Federal policy reverses benefits of alternative fuel vehicles

Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), such as electric vehicles, can reduce U.S. petroleum consumption and can also potentially reduce emissions. However, a new Carnegie Mellon University study finds that under U.S. federal policy, AFV sales trigger the opposite effect. U.S. federal policy limits the average fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions rate from each automaker’s fleet of vehicles. “Recent updates of federal policy for model years 2012 through 2025 include incentives that allow automakers to meet less stringent fleet efficiency targets when they sell AFVs—so the more alternative fuel vehicles an automaker sells, the dirtier its overall vehicle fleet is permitted to be,” said Jeremy Michalek, professor of engineering and public policy and professor of mechanical engineering