Full Title: The Impact of Vehicle Automation on Carbon Emissions
Author(s): Myriam Alexander-Kearns, Miranda Peterson, and Alison Cassady
Publisher(s): Center for American Progress
Publication Date: 11/2016

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Description (excerpt):
Autonomous vehicles—particularly those that are passenger cars—could significantly affect the country’s ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions and move toward a carbon-free economy. Existing studies suggest that three main factors will determine whether putting more AVs on the road increases or decreases 2 Center for American Progress | The Impact of Vehicle Automation on Carbon Emissions tailpipe carbon emissions: effect on the total vehicle-miles traveled in the United States; impacts on congestion; and AVs’ fuel efficiency and fossil fuel consumption. As such, autonomous vehicles must be assessed not only for their safety but also for their effect on carbon emissions levels.

To that end, the Center for American Progress reviewed the existing literature on the environmental impacts of automation in the light-duty vehicle sector. We found that existing research does not draw clear and consistent conclusions about the impact of autonomous vehicles on the environment generally and climate specifically