This paper reviews the political science, regulatory, and economics literature to illuminate the international competitiveness impacts of motor vehicle emission standards.

In 2014, the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan prioritized the establishment of a Transport Task Group (TTG) to promote cooperation among participating G20 countries to develop domestic policies that improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of motor vehicles, particularly heavy-duty vehicles.

This briefing paper reviews the status of motor vehicle energy efficiency and emissions control programs in G20 nations. These programs have four components: low-sulfur fuel standards; tailpipe emissions standards for new vehicles; fuel economy and CO2 standards for new vehicles; and voluntary Green Freight programs.

If policymakers are to succeed in their efforts to foster economic growth, improve public health, and protect the environment, they need to know which policies work, which don’t, and why.