Daniel Sperling

  • Founding Director, ITS-Davis
  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor, Environmental Science and Policy
  • Faculty Director, Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy
Contact
Sperling, Daniel

Research Interests

  • Transportation technology assessment
  • Energy and environmental aspects of transportation
  • Transportation policy

Biography

Dr. Daniel Sperling is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy, and founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (ITS-Davis). The Institute has over 150 faculty, staff and student researchers. He has led ITS-Davis to international prominence by building strong partnerships with industry, government, and the environmental community, integrating interdisciplinary research and education programs, and connecting research with public outreach and education. In June 2013, he was named a recipient of the Blue Planet Prize from the Asahi Glass Foundation. The prize has been described as the Nobel Prize for the environmental sciences. He was recognized for his unique ability to bring together the top thinkers and strategists in academia, government and industry to develop new vehicle- and fuels-policy approaches that are models for the world. In February 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed him to the “automotive engineering” seat on the California Air Resources Board. His appointment was confirmed by the California Senate in January 2008. His chief responsibilities are oversight and design of the state’s climate change, alternatives fuels, vehicle travel and land use, and zero emission vehicle programs. He also served as co-director of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard study, requested in the Governor’s January 2007 Executive Order. In 2008 he was appointed chair of the “Future of Mobility” Council of the Davos World Economic Forum. ITS-Davis won the 2006 Robert M. Zweig Public Education Award of the National Hydrogen Association, 2005 TRANNY award for Organization of the Year by the California Transportation Foundation, 1998 Employer of the Year Award of the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Sacramento, and was selected as a finalist for the 2003 World Technology Energy Award. He is recognized as a leading international expert on transportation technology assessment, energy and environmental aspects of transportation, and transportation policy. He has testified 10 times to the US Congress and state legislatures, and provided keynote presentations and invited talks in recent years at international conferences in Asia, Europe, and North America. In the past 25 years, he has authored or co-authored over 200 technical papers and 11 books, including Two Billion Cars (Oxford University Press, 2009). He has made 500 professional presentations in his career, including many keynote talks in the past few years. Sperling is an international expert on transportation technology, fuels and policy, with a focus on energy and environment. His research is directed at accelerating the global transition to cleaner, more efficient transportation and energy, and mitigating climate change. The award recognizes Sperling for his unique ability to bring together the top thinkers and strategists in academia, government and industry to develop new vehicle- and fuels-policy approaches that are models for the world. He was lead author of the transportation chapter in the 2007 IPCC report, “Mitigation of Climate Change” (IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008) and a member of 13 National Academies committees on Energy Efficiency, Gasoline Taxes, Hydrogen, Transport in China, Biomass Fuels R&D, Sustainable Transportation, and related topics. He was founding chair of standing committees for the U.S. Transportation Research Board on Alternative Transportation Fuels (1989-’96), and Sustainability and Transportation (2006-08). He is the founding organizer of the premier conference on transportation and energy policy, bringing together every two years since 1988 the leaders from industry, government, academia, and the environmental community. He serves on many advisory committees and advises senior executives of many automotive and energy companies, environmental groups, and national governments, including review committees at three DOE national laboratories. He is widely cited in leading newspapers, has been interviewed many times on NPR radio, including Science Friday, Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air, and in 2009 he was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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Dr. Daniel Sperling is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy, and founding Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis (ITS-Davis). The Institute has over 150 faculty, staff and student researchers. He has led ITS-Davis to international prominence by building strong partnerships with industry, government, and the environmental community, integrating interdisciplinary research and education programs, and connecting research with public outreach and education. In June 2013, he was named a recipient of the Blue Planet Prize from the Asahi Glass Foundation. The ...

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April 29, 2015

California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an executive order that calls for California to reduce carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. That exceeds the current goal of reaching 1990 emission levels by 2020. "China is making lots of investments in renewable energy and low-carbon," said Daniel Sperling, the director of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. "They’re implementing cap and trade programs. So they are doing a lot. Europe is doing a lot. Japan’s doing a lot. Korea’s doing a lot," he says. "But what California is doing is being a leader for the US and for the world."

Read and listen to the report here.

March 31, 2015

The price of Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits is going to rise. It’s just a question of when. That’s the view of Professor Daniel Sperling, member of the California Air Resources Board, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, but more importantly, the intellectual father of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Sperling noted that the required cut in the carbon intensity of California transportation fuels this year — and last year — was a mere 1% from a 2010 baseline. But that isn’t going to last, with CARB expected this summer to vote on a package of amendments that will tighten those requirements. “Next year it’s 2 percent, then 3.5%, then 5%, then 7.5% and then 10%,” he said. “It’s all backloaded. So looking at the market now doesn’t tell you much except that meeting 1 percent is easy.” He added: “As an academic, I will say it seems pretty likely the price is going to go up as we get to five and then 7.5 percent, and the market will get tighter. It’s just economics 101.”

February 23, 2015

A pact formed by West Coast leaders to team up on climate action has been caught up in the tempest that forced the resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).New Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) was sworn in Wednesday. Asked whether Brown plans to continue participation in the PCC, her spokeswoman, Melissa Navas, said in an email that "Governor Kate Brown is working with staff to assess a number of policies and areas of focus." California Air Resources Board member Daniel Sperling said he's been told that Gov. Kate Brown has "been generally supportive of the path" of the low-carbon fuel standard in Oregon. "There is a lot of support, a lot of inertia, so unless the new governor has some issue, I would expect it to go forward," Sperling said.

February 20, 2015

California Air Resources Board hearing on whether to renew the standard, known as LCFS, turned into a three-hour debate on whether the regulation is workable or effective. Environmentalists and executives who produce ethanol, biodiesel and other alternative fuels urged the agency to stay the course and keep the standard intact, saying it has helped usher in a new generation of greener products.Oil-industry executives countered that the LCFS is unrealistic and must be adjusted. Board member Daniel Sperling, a transportation professor at UC Davis who helped conceive of the LCFS, said he understands why the petroleum industry chafes against the regulation. “We’re telling them, ‘We want you to change your business model and your main product,’” Sperling said. “I can sympathize with the oil industry.”

 

January 13, 2015

The Bloomberg Advantage with Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn. GUESTS: Susan Newman Senior VP:Conferences Natl Retail Federation On the National Retail Federation’s trade show this week in New York. Daniel Sperling "Dan" Director/Professor:Civil UC Davis Inst of Transportation Studies on how the falling price of oil is affecting the sale of electric / hybrid vehicles.