Tailpipe Emissions and the Construction Knowledge

Tailpipe Emissions and the Construction Knowledge

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Watts

Funding Agency: US DOT

Project Summary

This study examines 1471 Associated Press news articles in the U.S. regarding motor vehicle tailpipe emissions between 2000 and 2008. Using a frame analysis approach, we find that tailpipe emissions are defined either as a public health or environmental issue. Examining the co-occurrence of frames with the actors in the discourse, we find that the technology solution is the preferred solution articulated by all actors, including government officials, the auto industry, business interests and environmental organizations. While the technology as a solution construction is dominant, actual reductions in tailpipe emissions from vehicles, (including GHG emissions) will also require significant changes in individual travel behavior. We argue that the lack of a publicly available discourse regarding non-technology solutions limits public understanding of the policy measures necessary to reduce tailpipe emissions.

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