The finite nature of oil resources and the associated political and economic effects presents the need to assess alternative energy sources and to reduce dependency on imported oil. In addition to these energy aspects, there are important environmental, safety and economy related (e.g. congestion) reasons for changing our transport systems. In order to make transportation more sustainable, different possible options are available: controlling the need for motorised travel, land use planning, making travel safer (driving behaviour), encouraging modal shifts (walking, cycling, public transport) and technical innovation.
The objectives of the project can be described as follows:
- Create an objective image of the environmental impact of vehicles with conventional and alternative fuels and/or drive trains;
- Investigate which price instruments and other policy measures are possible to realise a sustainable vehicle choice;
- Examine the external costs and verify which barriers exist for the introduction of clean vehicle technologies on the Belgian market;
- Analyse the global environmental performances of the Belgian car fleet;
- Formulate recommendations for the Belgian government to stimulate the purchase and use of clean vehicles.
New clean vehicle technologies play a key role in the sustainable development because they allow, on the one hand to reduce the pressure on environment and resources and on the other hand to participate in the sustainable growth by emphasising a targeted innovation.
The LCA methodology allows integrating several environmental quality objectives. As it considers a holistic view of production and consumption cycles, the LCA methodology partly fulfills to the integration principle of sustainability. Taking into account the overcost of new transport modes and complying with stricter standards, as well as the inclusion of external costs and new fiscal policies in the methodology are elements belonging to the polluter-pays principle. Considerations on social equity are other elements that have been analysed. It includes social components like social barriers against new techniques, overcosts and fiscal incentives scenarios for developing the purchase of clean vehicles, in the short or long term.