Evaluating the impacts of the clean cities program


The Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program was created in 1993 to reduce petroleum usage in the transportation sector. The program promotes alternative fuels such as biofuels and fuel-saving strategies such as idle reduction and fleet management through coalitions of local government, non-profit, and private actors. Few studies have evaluated the impact of the program because of its complexity that include interrelated strategies of grants, education and training and diversity of participants. This paper uses a Difference-in-Differences (DiD) approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the program between 1990 and 2010. We quantify the effectiveness of the Clean Cities program by focusing on performance measures such as air quality, number of alternative fueling stations, private vehicle occupancy and transit ridership. We find that counties that participate in the program perform better on all these measures compared to counties that did not participate. Compared to the control group, counties in the Clean Cities program experienced a reduction in days with bad air quality (3.7%), a decrease in automobile commuters (2.9%), an overall increase in transit commuters (2.1%) and had greater numbers of new alternative fueling stations (12.9). The results suggest that the program is a qualified success.

Science of The Total Environment