Climate change is recognised worldwide as a major concern, with serious repercussions. Observed temperature rises are increasingly being linked to human activity. Evidence indicates a strengthening vehicle-orientated society, with negative implications for climate change. To achieve the targets to mitigate climate change, governments have undertaken a series of environmental reforms to their policy measures. Pricing signals, designed to shape individuals’ behaviour with incentives/disincentives, are provided via government-led fiscal policy.
This research focuses upon those measures targeting individuals’ future vehicle purchasing behaviour. Environmental savings are achieved by purchasing a relatively lower emission vehicle than the vehicle most often used at present. This research explores the weighting of situational and psychological factors shaping individuals’ future vehicle purchasing decisions. The modifications to current taxation policy, deemed necessary to start thinking about, seriously think about and definitely buy a lower emission vehicle, are also investigated. The potential influence of hypothetical policy measures to further encourage a lower emission vehicle purchase is also considered.
To address the aforementioned research topics, a postal questionnaire survey was administered to a sample of Scottish motorists. 1,336 responses were collected, equating to a response rate of 28.3%. Cluster analysis was applied to the overall population, and the differences subsequently evaluated.
For the Scottish motoring population, situational factors were generally more influential than psychological factors in informing individuals’ future vehicle purchasing decisions. Disaggregating the population into segments indicates variation in the factors driving individuals’ future vehicle purchasing behaviour. Revised behavioural models were presented to visually demonstrate the differences. The strength of psychological constructs provides insight into the preparedness of individuals to purchase a lower emission vehicle, and thus the type of policy interventions most effective in influencing future vehicle purchasing behaviour.
Results indicate a sizeable potential for using vehicle excise duty, value added tax, hydrocarbon oil duty and the plug-in car grant to shape individuals’ future vehicle purchasing decisions towards a lower emission vehicle. This reported influence was generally found to increase as individuals become more prepared to purchase a lower
emission vehicle in the future. Tax incentives were identified as more influential than disincentives in shaping individuals’ future vehicle purchasing behaviour towards a lower emission vehicle. This is particularly so as individuals become more prepared to purchase a lower emission vehicle. In keeping with established psychological theory regarding behaviour change, individuals were found to require a progressively greater tax incentive/disincentive to advance through the behaviour change process towards purchasing a lower emission vehicle. Those individuals most prepared to purchase a lower emission vehicle were generally found to require the lowest incentive/disincentive to change their future vehicle purchasing behaviour towards such a vehicle.
Motorists were found to be most influenced by hypothetical policy measures reoccurring throughout the period of vehicle ownership, followed closely by those present at the time of vehicle acquisition. Across all segments, a proposed ‘feebate’ system presents the best opportunity for shaping future vehicle purchasing behaviour towards a lower emission vehicle. However, the reported influence of hypothetical policy measures was largely found to increase as individuals become more prepared to purchase a lower emission vehicle.
Collected results are discussed in context of past research and current transport policy. A series of recommendations, directed towards both future researchers and policy makers, are then presented.
Borthwick, S. The potential for 'green' fiscal policy measures to influence individuals' vehicle purchasing decisions in Scotland. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/8820