Saturday, 27 November 2010

Reduce oil dependency by introducing congestion pricing?

The Mobility Choice Coalition has released a report (PDF) that focuses on improving choice and competition in transport, but which also claims that congestion pricing and HOT Lanes could have a dramatic impact on oil consumption.   By 2020 a combination of HOT lanes and congestion pricing in the US is claimed to save 80 million barrels of oil p.a., and nearly double that by 2030 if pricing is even more comprehensive.  The options outlined in the report are basic (cordons, HOT lanes, distance charging and truck toll lanes), but the point is raising the idea in the first place.    It is ranked as the second best option in reducing oil consumption in transport (after a punitive fuel tax) and this neglects the wider economic and environmental benefits of pricing roads more efficiently.

The organisation itself appears to be a blend of free-market advocates, environmentalists and those interested in reducing the US transport sector's dependence on oil.

However, it is notable that more efficient pricing of roads is finally being acknowledged as a way of reducing oil consumption, with the reduction coming both from reduced demand, but also - critically - from more efficient and steady flows of traffic.

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