The cost and effectiveness of public policy measures

The Netherlands Court of Audit recently published a study on the effectiveness of Dutch policies geared to sustainable mobility. As part of this study CE Delft estimated the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of standing Dutch policy to reduce road vehicle CO2 and air pollutant emissions.

For each of these policies, as relevant, the annual cuts in CO2, NOx and particulate emissions as well as the associated costs were estimated for the years 2007 and 2010. As far as was possible, the analysis was carried out on the basis of published ex-post reviews, supplemented where necessary with in-house expertise.

The results shows that the greatest CO2 emission cuts are to be achieved by means of biofuels and a more efficient driving style (as promoted by the government under its ‘New Driving’ programme). With both policies there is considerable uncertainty about the precise CO2 reductions actually achieved, though. Incentives for buying fuel-efficient vehicles lead to only limited cuts in these emissions. Incentive packages for Euro 4 and 5 heavy-duty vehicles have led to a reduction of both NOx and particulate emissions as well as a (limited) decrease in CO2 emissions. The subsidy on PM filters has contributed more to controlling particulate emissions, but has had no impact on NOx emissions. 

After completion of this report, new data on the extra fuel consumption of vehicles fitted with PM filters were published and a short supplement was therefore written in which the results for two incentive schemes for these filters were recalculated.