Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cultural Differences Influence Government Policy On Electric Vehicle Innovation

Date:
May 15, 2007
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Cultural differences between countries run right to the heart of government, thereby influencing technological innovation. Efforts were made throughout the 1990s by both the US and French governments to adopt legislation fostering technological innovation to improve urban air quality by promoting clean vehicles, specifically electric vehicles.

Cultural differences between countries run right to the heart of government, thereby influencing technological innovation. This is reported in a comparative study by David Calef and Robert Goble published recently in the journal Policy Sciences(1). The authors outline efforts taken throughout the 1990s by both the US and French governments to adopt legislation fostering technological innovation to improve urban air quality by promoting clean vehicles, specifically electric vehicles (EVs). The study highlights the differences in approach and policy-making style by both governments and how this might have affected the final outcome.

In the Californian example, mandates were instituted that required zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to make up a certain percentage of car production and sales, with fines imposed for not reaching targets. Both the oil and auto industries opposed this and lobbied heavily against it. There was intensive media coverage of the debate and environmentalists spoke out on both sides. All parties were locked in a confrontational relationship fueled by a longstanding mutual mistrust. Public participation was openly sought.

The French mandate, however, was characterized by heavy government involvement. Much of the interaction between government and businesses was conducted ‘behind closed doors’, free of public scrutiny. Unlike in the US, no group ever complained that EVs were a problem. A treaty was made between the state-owned electricity company, the auto industry and local administrative institutions to contribute to the development of the EV. No penalties were imposed for failing to meet targets. Subsidies were provided to encourage individuals to buy EVs.

The diversity in the policies adopted reflect both practical and cultural differences between the USA and France. American cities are characterized by urban sprawl (which makes EVs difficult to use), the gasoline tax is low and the environmental lobby is political and vocal. France’s cities, conversely, have a typically dense layout making EVs more practical. The nuclear power industry has little opposition and has excess capacity to provide electricity. Awareness of green issues in France is low and the high gasoline tax is a substantial source of revenue for the government.

In the end, the different ways used to achieve the same goal had no effect on the outcome. Both countries failed to reduce urban pollution in line with targets. However, the stricter legislation in the USA compelled the automotive industry to come up with an alternative solution which it did in the form of hybrid cars. This is typical, the authors observed, because in the US, technological solutions are preferred over behavioral change. In France, technological solutions are strongly related to national prestige as a form of cultural elitism. France failed to make this a ‘grand project’ and the lack of public awareness may have failed to drive it forward.

This comparison shows that individual cultures still have ‘standard operating procedures’ which reflect ‘deep-rooted national political and social cultures’ despite increasing globalization. It also suggests that governments should take into account the cultural dimension when promoting policy change.

1.Calef D and Goble R (2007). The allure of technology: How France and California promoted electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce urban air pollution. (Policy Sciences, Vol. 40, No. 1, DOI 10.1007/s11077-006-9022-7)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Springer. "Cultural Differences Influence Government Policy On Electric Vehicle Innovation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514123808.htm>.
Springer. (2007, May 15). Cultural Differences Influence Government Policy On Electric Vehicle Innovation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514123808.htm
Springer. "Cultural Differences Influence Government Policy On Electric Vehicle Innovation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514123808.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins