A Survey of Future Low-Polluting Vehicle Power Plants and Their Implication for the Gasoline Tax

Report No: 72-R22

Published in 1973

About the report:

Because the standards set for auto emissions are being strictly enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, it is imminent that the conventional internal combustion engine will not be the only vehicular power plant in widespread use. Both European and United States manufacturers are exploring numerous avenues in an effort to meet 1976 emission standards. It is not too early to consider the likelihood that the use of an electric urban car and mass transit system will have an impact on highway networks; if not on the revenue for financing them, certainly on the projected life, maintenance cost, and the number of lanes for urban roads. Although research and development is progressing well, some clean air advocates are emphasizing that something other than technology may be needed to abate auto pollution in cities; for example, restrictions on the use of autos in cities. Because of the differences in the requirements for a vehicle suitable for urban as opposed to cross-country use, the probability of using different types of power sources for the two types of vehicles is greatly increased. A systems approach is the most viable method of solving the emissions problem, especially for urban areas. It is not apparent that those vehicular power plants most likely to come on the scene will have any quantitative effect on reducing highway revenue.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Gary R. Allen, Ph.D.

Last updated: February 8, 2024

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