Brian Hu '24
With worsening effects of climate change, governments around the globe are considering policies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. In 2016, the New York State government implemented a financial incentive program to make electric vehicles a more affordable choice and increase their adoption. The program most notably involves rebates, by which a portion of the purchase price is refunded to those who buy an electric vehicle. Brian Hu ’24 spent his summer studying the effectiveness of this rebate program on electric vehicle adoption.

“A lot of times, policies that governments think will be effective don’t end up having a real impact,” said Hu, who was supported in his research through the Emerson program. “It’s important to make sure we have effective policies, especially as they relate to the future of the electric vehicle industry and achieving carbon neutrality.”

An economics major, Hu is grateful for Hamilton’s open curriculum for the opportunity to explore an array of courses and to discover his interest in the energy market. More specifically, he credits the geoscience course Mineralogy, which prompted him to consider the availability of mineral resources and how they interact with the market. His interest in this topic eventually led him to the field of energy economics. 

Energy economics considers economic topics related to society’s supply and use of energy products. As Hu worked to choose a specific research topic, he met with Assistant Professor of Economics Jeffrey Cross, whose scholarly experience in energy economics helped steer Hu toward the topic of electric vehicle adoption.

Hu’s research involved collecting vehicle registration data, acquired from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, in addition to data on state demographics. Since the research focuses on the specific New York State rebate policy, Hu looked at vehicle registration preceding and succeeding this policy to analyze its impact on electric vehicle adoption. 

After collecting his data, Hu used a software analysis program to determine if electric vehicle adoption growth is statistically significant succeeding the rebate policy. A statistically significant result would conclude that the policy was effective. 

Though Hu’s study focused on New York State, the results can be applied nationwide as more states set their eyes on decreasing carbon emissions. “The whole world is facing global warming, so if one policy is effective in decreasing emissions, everyone can benefit from it,” Hu said.

Brian Hu ’24

Majors: Economics and World Politics
Hometown: Chengdu, China
High School: Chengdu Shishi Tianfu High School


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