Anup Bandivadekar, Policy Analyst, ICCT, USA
BAQ 2008, 12-14 November 2008 (Bangkok, Thailand)
Around the world, policy makers are searching for strategies to reduce transportation-related air pollution that will improve public health and cut global warming emissions in parallel. Automakers argue that their new, cleaner diesel cars can help achieve these goals. Indeed, the most advanced diesel cars coming to market in the U.S., Europe and Japan demonstrate high performance and fuel economy, quiet operation, and emissions levels that can be equivalent to the latest gasoline-fueled cars. Meanwhile, conditions such as higher fuel costs, lower diesel fuel taxes, and an increased emphasis on fuel economy are already favoring advanced diesel cars. But without a set of very specific policies in place, a shift from gasoline to light duty diesels will increase emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in a way that may both worsen air quality and hasten climate change regionally and globally. In India for example, a growing diesel fleet of passenger cars is already starting to undermine the air quality benefits that were achieved through the recent renovation of the heavy-duty fleet. This presentation will highlight the specific policies necessary before diesel cars can fulfill their full environmental potential in Asia, in particular: 1) requirements for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel; 2) stringent emissions standards matching those for gasoline vehicles; and 3) regulatory controls for particulate emissions, which will require particulate filters on all light-duty diesels. Consideration should also be given to ensuring that fuel taxation policies and new fuel economy or greenhouse gas standards do not provide an unfair and unwarranted advantage for diesel cars.