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Most Drivers Would Pay More to Encourage Carbon-Reducing Policies, Study


downloadA survey conducted by scientists at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute revealed that the majority of drivers are willing to pay a little extra or sacrifice gas mileage and fuel economy in order to cut down on their carbon emissions.

It is a common belief that global warming is attributed to major greenhouse gas emission sources such as coal-fired power plants and giant industrial factories. This is the reason why the main bulk of research is directed towards developing carbon capture and storage technologies, which control and limit pollutants from these particular sources.

What seems to be slightly neglected, however, is the fact that small distributed power plants, such as car engines, contribute to the overall concentrations of harmful gases in the atmosphere just as much.

John Sullivan, an assistant researcher at UMTRI, together with Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, explored how much exactly a driver, who is concerned about the environment, would invest in order to contribute to the global fight against climate change. The aim of their study was to find out whether the development of carbon-capture technologies for light vehicles would meet a general public acceptance.

Fitting such technology in a car would require an additional space inside the vehicle, which will lead to a slight increase in fuel consumption and an initial investment to cover the cost of installation. But drivers, who believe that global warming is a result of human activities, are willing to handle this.

The results from the survey indicated that drivers are happy to pay up to $250 if this guarantees an 80% reduction in emissions. In addition, to minimize the release of carbon dioxide from their vehicles, these drivers are willing to lose up to 16% of their storage space and experience drop in their fuel economy by 10%.

The general conclusion reached by the scientists is that willingness to pay is related to drivers’ acceptance of the idea that global warming is due to anthropogenic sources.

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