Thought Leadership

Refining Estimates of Fuel-Cycle Greenhouse-Gas Emission Reductions Associated with California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

Refining Estimates of Fuel-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Associated with California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project with Program Data

In an article for the journal Energies, CSE researchers Nicholas Pallonetti and Dr. Brett Williams refine and update estimates of the fuel-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) rebated in California. Emissions are estimated using disaggregated data from the start of California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) through August 2018 (N = 269,902 participants).

GHG reductions are calculated for the first year of vehicle operation and subsequently scaled to reflect various operational timeframes. GHG reduction estimates over the first year of vehicle ownership total approximately 855 thousand metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions, or 3.2 tons per vehicle. For nonfleet individuals, 54% of reductions are associated with “Rebate-Essential” participants who were most highly influenced by the rebate to purchase/lease. Comparing the estimated warranty-life benefit of 7.9 million tons of GHG reductions to $603 million in corresponding rebates results in $76 of state incentives per metric ton reduced over the first 100,000/150,000 miles of rebated vehicle use.

Though uncertainty in estimates presents opportunities for further refinement, the contributions of this work increased average first-year GHG reductions per vehicle by 35–45% compared to previous work, demonstrating that use of program-derived data can enhance the understanding of EV impacts.

View the full open-source article featured in the Energies journal.