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Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Potential costs and benefits of policy options for reducing offshore ship pollution are examined using a meta-analysis of studies synthesized regionally for the US West Coast. Net benefits of reducing SO2 emissions from cargo ships in the US West Coast waters are found to range between $98 million and $284 million, annually; the benefit–cost ratio varies between 1.8 and 3.36, depending on the size of the control area and the sulfur content limit. The results show that about 21,000 tons of on-land equivalent SO2 emissions or about 33% of SO2 emissions from all mobile sources in California in 2005 can be reduced annually if the US West Coast exclusive economic zone is designated as an International Maritime Organization-compliant SOx emission control area (SECA) with fuel-sulfur content not exceeding 1.5%. The analysis demonstrates that designating this area reduces more emissions than establishing a smaller zone at a lower but favorable benefit-cost ratio. Control measures that require 0.5% low-sulfur fuels reduce more SO2 emissions, and also may have higher net benefits. Technological alternatives may achieve benefits of emissions reductions on the US West Coast across higher ranges of potential fuel prices. Combinations of fuel switching and control technology strategies provide the most cost-effective benefits from SECAs on the US West Coast and other world regions.