Automobiles and environmental sustainability: issues and options for developing countries

Automobiles and environmental sustainability: issues and options for developing countries

Taking the right turning: options for developing countries with regard to automobiles and environmental sustainability

The paper focuses on motorization - the growth in ownership and use of motorized vehicles - and its impact on energy demand and emissions with particular reference to the developing world. It examines the strategy currently pursued in the developed and the developing countries to improve air quality in cities, with particular emphasis on the cities in Asia and South America, where air pollution has reached unbearable levels. The paper also addresses the following questions crucial to development strategies:

  • Does the development pattern of the developed economies, associated with a heavy dependence on the automobile, have to be reproduced?
  • Is the technological fix sufficient?
  • Are there failures of policy in this pattern that can, and should, be avoided?
  • What are the policy implications?

The paper emphasizes cost-effective solutions to problems, which are often location specific, and maintains that interventions must be selective, enforceable and affordable. Demand management measures are necessary in the developing countries to complement supply-side technological interventions to improve the air quality in cities.