Abstract for: Policy Resistance to Fuel Efficient Cars and the Adoption of Next-Generation Technologies

We present a stock-and-flow model that describes the growth in the fuel consumption of the Australian car fleet despite persistent policy intervention by government, compliance and technology innovation by automakers, and shifts in transportation preferences by travellers. To this model, we add processes that describe the adoption by automakers of aluminium bodies-in-white (BIWs) and battery-electric (BE) powertrains, and the competition between automakers of these next-generation technologies and conventional technologies. The model shows that, in the future, growing congestion and declining oil availability could cause the fuel consumption of the car fleet to decline, despite growth in the size of the car fleet. Under these conditions, the adoption of aluminium BIWs could cause fuel consumption to decline further. Also, the adoption of BE powertrains could cause energy (fuel and electricity) consumption to decline faster, down to a point, but then increase the long-term transportation energy consumption by encouraging travellers to continue to drive cars rather than shift to public transportation. These results suggest that congestion, the price of petrol, and the availability of fuel have high leverage for influencing car- fleet fuel consumption. Also, next-generation technologies have lower leverage, but this leverage could be enhanced by a competitive market environment.