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Environmental consequences of Japan's ban on sale of new fossil fuel-powered passenger vehicles from 2035

15 January 2024

Authors: Minami Kito, Yuya Nakamoto , Shigemi Kagawa , Shunichi Hienuki, Klaus Hubacek

Journal: Journal of Cleaner Production


Despite the recent increase in vehicle electrification, the transport sector remains a major contributor to the rise in global CO2 emissions. Using dynamic product lifecycle (LC) models, we analyzed the relationship between LC-CO2 emissions and the proportion of electric vehicle (EV) sales in Japan, where the introduction of EVs could increase LC-CO2 emissions. We considered the contributions of vehicle fuel efficiency and vehicle lifetime to LC-CO2 emissions under three scenarios—changes in sales, improvements in fuel efficiency, and changes in vehicle lifetimes. Our findings show that promoting EVs and decarbonization in the electricity sector will decrease CO2 emissions during the driving phase. However, even if the energy mix follows the net zero emission target, emissions from the vehicle manufacturing phase will largely remain, and the manufacturing emissions from electric will account for over 50% of the total emissions in 2050, even when the vehicle lifetime is extended by 5 years. Although the decarbonization of the power sector and vehicle electrification are important steps toward reducing LC-CO2 emissions, they are insufficient. Thus, to reduce LC-CO2 emissions, including those from the manufacturing phase, the Japanese government needs to focus on decarbonizing the supply chain and extending vehicle lifetime, especially that of EVs, as well as reducing driving phase emissions.

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Last modified:27 February 2024 10.41 a.m.

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