Policy implications of the potential carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and energy impacts of highly automated vehicles

Jan Anne Annema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter explores the extent to which the adoption of highly automated vehicles (AVs) will lead to carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction in the future. Additionally, policy implications are given. Based on existing literature, this chapter shows that the adoption of AVs will result in a modest improvement of CO2 emission per kilometer traveled compared to non-autonomous vehicles in the future. Combined with the expectations that AVs will lead to a modest to, even, high growth in vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) compared to business as usual, the net energy and CO2 emission balance for AVs seems, at its best, to be neutral, but is probably negative. The potential accelerating role of AVs in relation to the uptake of electric vehicles might have the largest positive impacts on the CO2 emissions per kilometer driven, but this accelerating role of AV technology in relation to the uptake of electric vehicles is uncertain. For the time being the most useful policy implication to curb road transport CO2 emissions seems to be to continue with policies that promote the use of alternatives for fossil fuels, such as electricity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles
EditorsDimitris Milakis, Nikolas Thomopoulos, Bert van Wee
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780128201916
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transport Policy and Planning
ISSN (Print)2543-0009
ISSN (Electronic)2542-9116

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Automated vehicles
  • Carbon dioxide emission
  • Environment
  • Policy implications


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