Hello friends! Here’s my monthly take on the five most interesting developments in future fuels and vehicles trends. Items I selected include:
1. REN21, IRENA, IEA: Renewable Energy Policies in a Time of Transition ― In this first joint report from REN21, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the three organizations outlined the options available to policymakers to support the development of renewables. The organizations provide an updated policy classification and terminology providing a global reference for policy instruments and in the last chapter proposing a holistic approach for policymaking. One of those options for transport? Higher biofuels blends. A separate report from IRENA notes the pace of the energy transition needs to be “substantially accelerated” to meet decarbonization and sustainable development objectives. Read more about it here.
2. Automotive News: Washington State Tax Incentive for EVs to Expire ― The sales tax exemption for electric vehicles and other “clean-energy vehicles” in Washington state will expire at the May 31, earlier than expected, because essentially the target of 7,500 eligible vehicles from news sales was met as of April 4. A bill to extend the program failed in the legislature. It will be interesting to see what happens with sales, because my guess is that they will decline. At this stage of market development, EVs need this kind of support. When the state of Georgia’s tax credit expired, EV sales there nosedived. A similar situation occurred in Denmark.
3. IMO: UN Body Adopts Climate Change Strategy For Shipping ―The big news over the last week is the IMO adopted an “initial strategy” on the reduction of GHGs emissions from ships. The strategy calls for a 50% total annual GHG emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 2008 while pursuing efforts toward phasing out these emissions entirely. It was also agreed to reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008. Future Fuel Outlook members can look for a much more in-depth analysis in the coming weeks.
4. Wall Street Journal: Creating Bike Lanes Isn’t Easy. Just Ask Baltimore. Or Boulder. Or Seattle. (Subscription Required) ― A key air pollution and GHG emissions reduction policy supported by bodies of the UN, NGOs, academics and other advocates is to increase not just public transport, but active transport, such as walking and cycling. According to the Journal, cycling commuters increased 40% in the U.S. between 2006-2016 as dozens of cities around the U.S. have rolled out bike-share and other programs.
Cities continue to increase cycling while reducing car-bike accidents by designing dedicated lanes/paths that require the removal of parking spaces and traffic lanes. Hence, the outcry from large swaths of the citizenry in the above-mentioned cities. Bottom line: These people aren’t having it. At all. Want to get a sense of just how people feel about issues like reduced driving, reduced parking spaces, eliminated traffic lanes and other kinds of measures that stop short of an all-out car ban but nevertheless seek to restrict cars? Want to get a “colorful” sense of how any car ban proposal might go down here? Scroll through the comments to this story and be entertained.
5. NPR: Hamburg To Ban Diesel Vehicles ― And so it goes for another German city, this time in Hamburg, where city officials have now imposed a ban on diesel vehicles in certain areas of and streets in the city. You can both read and listen to this story, which includes pro and con comments from the locals. This now makes 20 cities and 5 countries that have or will ban ICEVs, with most of the focus on diesel vehicles.
Tammy Klein is a consultant and strategic advisor providing market and policy intelligence and analysis on transportation fuels to the auto and oil industries, governments, and NGOs. She writes and advises on petroleum fuels, biofuels, alternative fuels, automotive fuels, and fuels policy.