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169202-1 Report Abstract

Evolution of the Household Vehicle Fleet: Anticipating Fleet Composition, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Adoption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in Austin, Texas

Sashank Musti and Kara M. Kockelman, University of Texas at Austin, December 2009, 165 pp. (169202-1)

Automobile ownership plays an important role in determining vehicle use, emissions, fuel consumption, congestion and traffic safety. This work provides new data on ownership decisions and owner preferences under various scenarios, coupled with calibrated models to microsimulate Austin’s household-fleet evolution. Results suggest that most Austinites (63%, population-corrected share) support a feebate policy to favor more fuel efficient vehicles. Top purchase criteria are vehicle purchase price, type/class, and fuel economy (with 30%, 21% and 19% of respondents placing these in their top three). Most (56%) respondents also indicated that they would seriously consider purchasing a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) if it were to cost $6,000 more than its conventional, gasoline-powered counterpart. And many respond strongly to signals on the external (health and climate) costs of a vehicle’s emissions, more strongly than they respond to information on fuel cost savings. 25-year simulations suggest that 19% of Austin’s vehicle fleet could be comprised of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and PHEVs under adoption of a feebate policy (along with PHEV availability in Year 1 of the simulation, and current gas prices throughout). In comparison to the base year (2009) total VMT, year 2034 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) levels are predicted to increase 154% by year 2034 in the TREND scenario. Total CO2 emissions fall by 22% in the PRICING scenario relative to the TREND scenario.

Keywords: Vehicle choice, Fleet Evolution, Vehicle Ownership, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Climate Change Policy, Stated Preference, Opinion Survey, Microsimulation

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.1 MB)