Author Archives: Daniel Sperling


This article is in Infrastructure for a Stormy Future, Winter 2018

What drives innovation? In “What Does Innovation Today Tell Us about the US Economy Tomorrow?” (Issues, Fall 2017), Jeffrey Funk starts with an assertion that puzzles me, but after that he develops and provides evidence for a point of view that is quite consistent with my knowledge. He asserts early on that most scholars of […]

Rethinking the Car of the Future

This article is in Building a Military for the Future, Winter 1996-1997

The government-industry partnership to develop a revolutionary fuel-efficient vehicle is in need of a midcourse correction. On September 29, 1993, President Clinton and the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors (the “Big Three”) announced the creation of what was to become known as the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). […]


This article is in The Action Begins for the New Administration, Spring 2001

OTA reconsidered While not arguing with the accuracy of Daryl E. Chubin’s view of the positive contributions of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) (“Filling the Policy Vacuum Created by OTA’s Demise,” Issues, Winter 2000-01), I would point out that the article fails to deal with the fundamental problem that led to OTA’s demise. The […]

Updating Automotive Research

This article is in Can We Cope if the Lights Go Out?, Spring 2002

Although the Bush plan for a new generation of vehicles has merit, more will be needed to accelerate commercialization. On January 9, 2002, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Spencer Abraham announced a new public-private cooperative research program with the three major domestic automakers. According to a press release, the program would ” promote the development […]

The Developing World’s Motorization Challenge

This article is in Caught in Traffic, Fall 2002

Soaring personal vehicle use is producing great benefits but also potentially enormous costs. Motorization is transforming cities and even rural areas of the developing world. The economic and social benefits are enormous. It provides individual flexible transportation in urban areas and reduced manual labor and improved market access in rural areas. In the longer term, […]

The Hope for Hydrogen

This article is in Atoms for Peace: Fifty Years Later, Spring 2004

We should embrace hydrogen largely because of the absence of a more compelling long-term option. The history of alternative transportation fuels is largely a history of failures. Methanol never progressed beyond its use in test fleets, despite support from President George H. W. Bush. Compressed natural gas remains a niche fuel. And nearly every major […]

Practical Pieces of the Energy Puzzle: Low Carbon Fuel Standards

This article is in Practical Pieces of the Energy Puzzle, Winter 2009

The most direct and effective policy for transitioning to low-carbon alternative transportation fuels is to spur innovation with a comprehensive performance standard for upstream fuel producers. When it comes to energy security and climate change concerns, transportation is the principal culprit. It consumes half the oil used in the world and accounts for almost one-fourth […]

California’s Pioneering Transportation Strategy

This article is in Economic Stimulus, Winter 2012

The state that has become identified with freeways and smog now aspires to become the leader in reducing motor vehicles’ carbon footprint and changing the way people travel. No place in the world is more closely associated with the romance of the automobile and the tragedy of its side effects than California. Having faced the […]