A new analysis of France’s energy efficiency obligation scheme evaluates the effectiveness of extending energy efficiency obligations to include the road transport sector. In French White Certificates and Energy Savings in the Transport Sector, the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) examines the first four years of the scheme’s road transport operation and concludes that although efficiency gains in transport are possible, other policies will be more effective at capturing the energy savings.
Traditionally, energy efficiency obligations have focused on stationary end uses. These programs have successfully delivered energy savings around the globe for the past two decades.
“France’s simple adaption of these obligations to the road transport sector has been an interesting exercise,” said Dr. Eoin Lees, author of the report.
Under the scheme, road transport fuel importers have the option of meeting their obligation in the transport sector, as well as through energy savings measures in other end-use sectors. They have, in fact, met their obligations overwhelmingly through end-use measures outside the transport sector. This is primarily due to the poor cost effectiveness of energy savings for road transport measures compared to energy savings measures in other sectors.
“The French experience demonstrates that energy efficiency obligations are not the best policy vehicle to achieve road transport savings. While energy efficiency in transport is very important, other policy options may be better suited to the task,” added Dr. Lees. “For example, regulation of automobiles through a series of European Union Directives has dramatically improved the fuel efficiency of road vehicles and reduced related airborne emissions in Europe.”
As France’s experience demonstrates, including the road transport sector under an energy efficiency obligation is an effective way to increase investment in end-use efficiency in other sectors and achieve economy-wide energy savings.