Evaluation of a Regional Approach to Standards for Plug-in Battery Electric Vehicles in Future Light Duty Vehicle GHG Regulations
Representing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) in vehicle GHG emissions regulations is complex because of spatial and temporal variation in fueling sources and vehicle use. Previous work has shown that the environmental performance of PEVs significantly varies depending on the characteristics of the electricity grid and how the vehicle is driven. This article evaluates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) GHG emissions accounting methodology in current and future standards for new electrified vehicles. The current approach employed by the EPA in their 2017–2025 model year light-duty vehicle GHG regulation is compared with an accounting mechanism where the actual regional sales of PEVs, and the regional electricity emission factor in the year sold, are used to determine vehicle compliance value. Changes to the electricity grid over time and regional vehicle sales are included in the modeling efforts. A projection of a future GHG regulation past the 2017–2025 rule is used to observe the effect of such a regional regulation. The results showed that the complexity involved in tracking and accounting for regional PEV sales will not dramatically increase the effectiveness of the regulations to capture PEV electricity-related GHG emissions in the absence of a major policy shift. A discussion of the feasibility and effectiveness of a regional standard for PEVs, and notable examples of region-specific regulations instated in past energy policies, is also addressed.