Mar 11, 2024 - Technology

Uber launches data feature for "emissions savings"

Image showing the new CO2 calculations on the Uber app

Image courtesy of Uber

Uber just unveiled app features that give riders data on carbon dioxide emissions avoided, if they use electric vehicle and hybrid options.

Why it matters: The ride-hailing giant hopes for a climate-friendly feedback loop.

  • "[W]e're excited to launch this new feature to both celebrate your impact and encourage greener choices when using Uber," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

The big picture: The "Emissions Savings" feature tracks effects of using the Uber Green and Uber Comfort Electric options.

  • It calculates CO2 savings relative to UberX and Uber Comfort trips of the same distance.
  • In a nod to climate concerns from the young, Uber is also making the green and comfort electric options available to teen account holders.
  • That initially starts in 15+ cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Friction point: Ride-hailing's CO2 impact is tricky to measure. But some studies in recent years see gasoline-powered rides as a climate loser.

  • That's because of miles driven without passengers, congestion, and cannibalizing less polluting options like mass transit or bikes.

Catch up quick: Uber in 2020 set a target of being a zero emissions platform in the U.S., Canada, and European cities by 2030

  • But hitting those goals would mean a huge increase from current levels — and it's only partially under Uber's control. Cars are privately owned, though Uber offers various incentives for driver EV use and charging.
  • And the company has also cautioned it depends on the wider policy and auto industry environment.

What's next: Uber plans to add more dimensions to the emissions-saving feature, such as effects of using UberX Share and e-bikes and e-scooters booked on the app.

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