May 13, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Modeling a pathway to clean transportation

Projected U.S. transportation sector emissions
Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

Wringing carbon emissions out of transportation isn't easy, but new analysis sees a cost-effective path to major reductions over the next decade.

Why it matters: Combined emissions from cars, trucks and other transport segments overtook electric power as the nation's biggest CO2 source several years ago.

How it works: The Rhodium Group modeled proposed policies to speed the uptake of electric vehicles and boost efficiency, including...

  • Lifting the per-manufacturer cap on $7,500 consumer tax credits for buying EVs.
  • Major grants for public charging installations.
  • 10% investment tax credits for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle buys and waiver of federal excise taxes for big trucks.
  • Grants for school districts to go electric with their buses.
  • On the regulatory front, aggressive CO2 emissions standards.

The big picture: Extending the current incentives and charging build-out can push electric passenger vehicles from 2% of 2020 sales to 52% in 2031, the report concludes.

  • And check out the chart above, which adds tough standards and incentives for trucks and buses and so forth.
  • It all adds up to significant emissions cuts, but it's still very far from total decarbonization because vehicle fleets take a long time to turn over.

What we're watching: The analysis arrives as the White House and Congress are negotiating over infrastructure plans.

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