Driving the Economy: Automotive Travel, Economic Growth, and the Risks of Global Warming Regulations

Concerns about climate change necessarily have focused attention on the energy and carbon “footprint” of various sectors of the economy. Particular attention has been focused on the
transportation sector and private vehicle travel in particular. For example, the May 15, 2009 proposal by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Frank Lautenberg requires that the next federal transportation bill “reduce national per capita motor VMT on an annual basis.” With some state climate initiatives calling for reductions in carbon emissions of as much as 40 percent of today’s levels in a decade, further focus on the transportation system and private highway use is inevitable.

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