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Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tipping Point Could Be Decades Away

A study by MIT researchers concludes that marketing programs and subsidies will need to be in place for decades in order for the adoption and long-term market penetration of alternative fuel vehicles to become significant and self-sustaining, GreenCarCongress reports.

Results show that there is a tipping point for AFVs that requires policies, such as subsidies for AFVs and fueling infrastructure, that persist long enough to push the AFV installed base over a critical threshold. Efforts falling short of the tipping point will not lead to sustained adoption. According to the article, the time required to achieve self-sustaining adoption is longA?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬?on the order of several decadesA?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬?primarily due to the long life of vehicles.

The long time required for the AFV market to develop in the simulations, however, suggests that a successful transition to AFVs will likely require policies that raise the real price of gasoline, thus providing the persistent incentive favoring AFVs needed to reach the tipping point.

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