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RACER: Rapid Acceleration of Car Emission Reductions

Funders: UK Energy Research Centre, Theme 1

This project is led by Tyndall Manchester, working with the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds.

The project has three main aims:

  • Establish a CO2 only carbon budget for the UK’s passenger car sector (PCS) that is in line with the UK’s commitments to the 2°C framing of the Paris Agreement
  • Define a set of scenarios and accompanying storylines in which cumulative CO2 emissions from the PCS stay within the newly defined budget through implementation of a range of interventions: car technology improvements, fuel decarbonisation, car technology mix, and changes in the sector’s political economy
  • Provide a set of policy and industry recommendations for packages of interventions that could achieve the RACER budget, including stakeholder roles and investment in technology and infrastructure


The research involves four work packages:

  • Carbon budgets and emission pathways (WP1): provide an energy-only carbon budget range for the UK associated with the Paris 2°C framing; develop a robust approach for disaggregating a national budget to a sector-level carbon budget range, and define a budget for the UK PCS; build a pathways model that calculates future emissions in the budget period based on a set of assumptions; develop a family of emission pathways that can meet the newly defined PCS budget; create simple storylines for each pathway.
  • Economic appraisal of scenarios (WP2): Scenarios will receive a provisional economic assessment considering broad issues such as profitability and employment impacts of changes; identify potential win/win opportunities in relation to other high-level social goals.
  • The political economy of PCS CO2 emissions (WP3): Historical analysis of the design, implementation and political economy of the EU’s fleet emissions standards; create new ‘stretched’ combinations of existing policy mechanisms that are adapted to meet competing political, market and civilian actions in each scenario; analyse the fiscal, regulatory and consumer/behavioural policies already targeted at supply side actors and private and company consumers.
  • Expanded scenario storylines (WP4): Define a set of expanded intervention strategies that meet the RACER budget by going beyond technology improvements and regulation; academic, policy and trade press literature review to identify the range of potential interventions; stakeholder reviews of scenario storylines; analyse possible secondary effects of rapid decarbonisation for policy makers and industry.

Further Information
Please see the Tyndall Manchester project page.

UK Energy Research Centre, Theme 1



Dr Rachel Freeman, University of Manchester
Prof Kevin Anderson, University of Manchester
Dr Carly McLachlan, University of Manchester
Dr Paul Gilbert, University of Manchester
Prof Alice Larkin, University of Manchester


Prof Jillian Anable, University of Leeds
Dr Caroline Mullen, University of Leeds

Lisa Bell, University of Manchester

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