Publications

Resource efficiency for UK cars from 1960 to 2015: From stocks and flows to service provision

Resource efficiency for UK cars from 1960 to 2015: From stocks and flows to service provision

The transport sector is supported by the continuous provision of energy, material flows, and material stocks. However, most resource accounting methods do not assess the role of material accumulation in the delivery of mobility, as a service.  

Using a UK-based case study, we evaluate the service contribution of both resource stocks and flows in the provision of the passenger-kilometres (pkm) travelled nationally by UK-registered cars between 1960 and 2015. We used six indicators to analyse the interactions between stocks, flows and service. 

Consumer preferences for heavier larger vehicles and sociodemographic changes linked to workplace expectations, commuting and urbanisation patterns are key factors influencing UK car stock efficiency. While fuel efficiency has improved and will continue to do so via the mass adoption of electric vehicles, due to policy and legislative developments, there are still sustainability concerns linked to their heavier weight and the environmental impact of their increased material complexity. 

Read the full paper by Bárbara Rodrigues, Gabriel, Kai Whiting, Tânia Sousa here.

Photo credit: Isaac Quesada