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International private and public reinforcing dependencies for the innovation of automotive emission control systems in Japan and USA
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2011 (English)In: Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, ISSN 0965-8564, Vol. 45, no 5, 375-388 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the beginning of the 1970s, the economies of USA and Japan were growing fast and environmental pollution was increasing to alarming levels. As passenger car emissions were found to be significant and rapidly increasing, their reduction was specially targeted. Following a bill passed by US Congress in 1968, requirements were set in 1970 for the vehicle manufacturers to reduce the emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) with 90% by 1975, and nitrogen oxides (NOx) with 90% by 1976. These requirements were soon adapted to the Japanese regulatory framework, and were known in both countries as the "Muskie Act" or "Muskie Law" after the senator who developed the original bill. The new requirements spurred tremendous research and development efforts. Car manufacturers and research institutions in USA, Japan and Europe investigated and developed alternative solutions, including gas turbine and steam engine vehicles. California, the USA state with the most severe air quality problems and the only state at the time allowed to establish more strict requirements than federal regulation, established requirements implying the use of oxidation catalysts in 1975 and three-way catalysts (TWC's) in 1977. Japan as a nation adopted similar requirements 1976 and 1978. Export of cars from Japan to USA increased rapidly. The rest of USA adopted emission standards similar to California's only in 1981, timing USA vehicle sales rebound after the energy crisis and grave economic downturn. Strict requirements were thus established only after more than a decade of civic and legal processes between federal authorities, the car manufacturers and NGO's. The history of vehicle development is one of cooperation and competition. This paper argues that the international cooperation on different levels of society (government, industry and science) together with commercial competition between the two countries was strong, continuous and instrumental in enabling the development of technology, appropriate regulation and infrastructural changes and thus created a market for cleaner cars and effectively reduced emissions from the growing vehicle fleet. In other words, the introduction of TWCs was reinforced by the simultaneous development of mitigating technology in two car producing countries competing for market space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 45, no 5, 375-388 p.
Keyword [en]
Innovation, Emission control, Automotive, International, Environment, Regulation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33454DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2010.12.008ISI: 000289602700001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79952757410OAI: diva2:418838
QC 20110524Available from: 2011-05-24 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2011-05-24Bibliographically approved

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