Oxford, England – A new study by Oxford University in England says the best way to reduce emissions in the short term is by a “drastic downscaling of both size and weight” of conventional gasoline and diesel cars, and suggests not relying on manufacturers producing hydrogen or battery-powered vehicles in the next decade.

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment released the report, Future of Mobility Roadmap, which assesses the potential for low-carbon transport on land, by air and sea. It found that electric and hydrogen vehicles are likely to remain niche products for many years, due to limited battery life, and the high cost of platinum which is needed for the catalysts in hydrogen-fuelled cars.

The study urges the government to impose higher taxes on drivers of large, inefficient vehicles, and reinvest the money in better public transport and measures to get more people cycling and walking. Manufacturers are more likely to produce smaller vehicles if customers opt not to buy larger, heavier vehicles with higher carbon emissions.

The study also highlights algae-based biofuels as a means of significantly cutting transport emissions in the future, pointing out the limitations of biofuels as an alternative because of land shortages and food security concerns. First-generation biofuels derived from food stocks have proved the viability of such fuels, but remain a local solution, such as in Brazil.

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