Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Maggie Winslow

Abstract

Any significant effort to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gasses must address the growing concern of the transportation sector’s inability to meaningfully reduce its emissions contribution. A major shift in the primary fuel used in the sector away from petroleum-based fuel to electricity is one potential way the sector can lower its emissions and transition into a sustainable future. However, a number of barriers face the electric vehicle market, including competing against an already mature vehicle market, battling consumer preferences, and overcoming technical challenges. This paper examines several policy proposals to combat these barriers and examines the impact similar policies could have on the electric vehicle market in California. California is chosen because of its historical leadership in environmental causes, and for exhibiting cultural values that are in line with increasing the adoption of electric vehicles. It is found that policies that affect the purchase price of the vehicle, and improve access to charging infrastructure are most effective in increasing the number of sales, but that policies aimed at signaling a longstanding commitment to the success of the EV market and reduce GHG emissions are a greater indicator of whether there is sustained growth in the EV market. Recommendations are given based on California’s current policy package to strengthen the current EV market, and transition into a self-sustaining market without the need for government intervention.