Driverless Vehicles: Opportunity for Further Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Under California AB 32

Keiichiro Zushi

Volume 69, Online, 1-27

Fully-automated driverless vehicles could not only provide a convenient means of transportation to many, but also become an effective tool to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions if properly regulated. To ensure that driverless vehicles help achieve California’s emission reduction goals beyond 2020, when driverless vehicles could become commercially available, this Note proposes several regulatory schemes to achieve efficient fuel economy for driverless vehicles, foster the use of fully-automated, shared driverless vehicles that would supplement public transportation systems, and prevent urban sprawl that could be caused by the use of driverless vehicles.

This Note also addresses the implications for auto manufacturers, transportation network companies (“TNC”), software developers, real estate developers, and the retail and service industry. This Note does so by primarily examining existing regulations intended to reduce the transportation-sector emissions under Assembly Bill 32 (“AB 32”), the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Senate Bill 375 (“SB 375”), the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and the potential impacts that driverless vehicles could have on GHG emissions based on expert opinions and literature review.

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