Alternative-Fueled Vehicles:

Potential Impact of Exemptions From Transportation Control Measures

RCED-93-125: Published: Apr 19, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the implications of exempting alternative-fueled vehicles (AFV) from transportation control measures (TCM), focusing on: (1) AFV exemptions' effects on TCM; (2) AFV exemptions' effectiveness in encouraging AFV purchases and alternative fuel use; (3) government and industry views on whether the exemption program should be federally or state controlled; (4) the general public's reaction to the exemptions; (5) the exemptions' impact on TCM enforcement; and (6) specific types of AFV that would be eligible for exemption.

GAO found that: (1) quantitative data on TCM effectiveness and the impact of AFV exemptions on TCM is not generally available; (2) 61 percent of the transportation organizations believe that AFV exemptions will offset some of the positive effects of TCM, such as reduced traffic congestion and vehicle emissions; (3) 68 percent of the organizations supported some form of AFV exemptions; (4) up to 25 percent of the metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) believe that AFV exemptions will adversely effect TCM goals depending on the specific TCM and AFV under consideration; (5) almost two-thirds of the transportation organizations believe that TCM exemptions will encourage AFV purchases, although opinions vary on the relationship between TCM exemptions and fundamental barriers to AFV acquisition; (6) 35 to 44 percent of MPO believe TCM exemptions will promote alternative fuel use; (7) states unanimously oppose a federally-imposed exemption program, while fleet operators and alternative fuel associations support federal control, and other organizations support a balance between federal and state control; (8) most organizations and MPO believe there will be adverse public reaction to AFV exemptions, and that exemptions will weaken public acceptance of TCM; (9) law enforcement agencies believe exemptions will make high-occupancy-vehicle lane enforcement more difficult; (10) 75 percent of MPO believe that AFV exemptions will significantly affect some aspects of TCM enforcement; and (11) selection of specific AFV for exemptions is the key issue in the exemption program design, since it directly affects TCM goal achievement and enforcement difficulties, AFV purchases, and AFV fuel facility availability.

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