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Environments 2018, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020021

Evaluation of Alternatives for the Passenger Road Transport Sector in Europe: A Life-Cycle Assessment Approach

IN+, Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research—Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
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Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
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Abstract

The road passenger transport is responsible for a large share of energy consumption and pollutants emission in Europe. Efforts have been made in the definition of new policies to reduce the environmental impacts of this sector. However, an integrated and consistent assessment of the most promising policies is required, using specific European indicators. For that matter, a life-cycle analysis was applied to the road passenger transport, for the European Union with 27 countries (EU27) in 2010, following a basket-of-products methodology and considering three main stages: production, use, and end-of-life of vehicles. Simapro 8 software was used, along with Ecoinvent 3 database and the impact assessment method International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) 2011 Midpoint+. Changes in vehicle production processes, vehicle constitution, and energy sources for vehicle propulsion were analyzed. The policies resulting in a decrease in all impact categories are the use of smaller or lightweight vehicles by positively influencing use, production, and end-of-life of vehicles. The use of more recent vehicles technology or diesel vehicles show substantial reductions in, respectively, five and eight impact categories (out of 15), justifying their adoption in the European fleet. Generally, the most notorious policies compared to the actual transport paradigm, like compressed natural gas (CNG), biofuels, or electric vehicles use, show the greatest reduction in climate change (up to 46%) but also a very significant rise of impacts in the categories that in the conventional basket-of-products already resulted in the worst indicators after normalization. View Full-Text
Keywords: life-cycle analysis; basket-of-products; road passenger transport; vehicles; sustainable policies; renewable energy life-cycle analysis; basket-of-products; road passenger transport; vehicles; sustainable policies; renewable energy
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Paulino, F.; Pina, A.; Baptista, P. Evaluation of Alternatives for the Passenger Road Transport Sector in Europe: A Life-Cycle Assessment Approach. Environments 2018, 5, 21.

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