Aug 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Electric trucks could make a "significant dent" in carbon emissions

Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Note: Low and high estimates based on COVID-19 trajectory and recovery; Chart: Axios Visuals

Electric trucks have the potential to displace enough oil to make a "significant dent" in transportation sector CO2 emissions, per a Rhodium Group analysis.

Why it matters: There's lots of buzz — and a lot of money — around electric trucks these days.

  • It estimates the long-term effects of a recent 15-state nonbinding pact to bolster the use of zero-emissions heavy trucks and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • California, one of the states, also recently approved mandatory regulations on greatly increasing zero-emissions truck sales between 2024 and 2045.
  • The study also explores the impact if these state efforts were transformed into a nationwide mandate, which would mean more than half the U.S. medium- and heavy-duty fleet would be electric by 2045.

What they found: "If the [15-state] MOU were expanded nationally, the impact would increase six-fold. By 2035, cumulative oil demand would fall by 806 to 843 million barrels, expanding to 4.6 to 4.9 billion barrels by 2045," Rhodium finds.

  • "The long-term effect of expanding California’s approach nationally would reduce oil consumption in 2045 by 16 to 17%," the Aug. 13 analysis notes.

What we're watching: How a potential Joe Biden administration would seek to curb emissions from big trucks.

  • His plan calls eventually having 100% of medium-duty vehicle sales come from electric models, and "annual improvements" in the heavy-duty sector.
  • The analysis also comes as more electric trucks are coming into the market.

Go deeper: States team up in push for electric heavy vehicles

Go deeper