Road transport plays a crucial role in society – enabling people and goods to move around the country, and thereby sustaining economic growth. However, road transport also gives rise to significant negative externalities: it is the principal cause of urban air pollution, and a major contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions.
This report provides a picture of recent trends in road use, and a review of the main technological options to address road transport emissions – from new technologies like electric, hydrogen and natural gas vehicles, to making conventional vehicles more efficient, and encouraging people to take public transport.
The report argues that the Government needs to take more coordinated and assertive action to address the twin problems of carbon emissions and air pollution from road use. It identifies that the decarbonisation of road transport could lead to fiscal challenges in the future, as the shift to lower carbon vehicles erodes fuel duty receipts. The move to lower emission vehicles will also require significant investment in energy, transport and communications infrastructure.