Equity Impacts of Fee Systems to Support Zero Emission Vehicle Sales in California

Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are expected to play a critical role in decarbonizing light-duty vehicle passenger transportation in the United States over the next 20 years. They currently are quite expensive and while cost reductions are expected, the future costs of these vehicles are inherently uncertain. The U.S. government and some state governments currently provide price subsidies. However, subsidies may be needed for a decade or more. This creates an issue of policy sustainability. The authors propose to analyze policies that could address this problem in a real-world economic and political sense: feebates (revenue neutral, self-sustaining vehicle tax systems with rebates to efficient, low- carbon vehicles, and fees on inefficient, high-carbon vehicles). UCD researchers and others have previously analyzed these, and some countries have adopted versions of this policy. The authors will take it to the next step by developing feebate structures that are acceptable to key stakeholders, fair across demographic/income groups and economically efficient. The authors will build on previous data, modeling, and behavioral research, review recent experience with feebates (particularly in Europe) and conduct interviews with stakeholders and policy makers to establish a range of politically feasible policies without overly compromising the integrity and GHG benefits of the policy.