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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electric cars get lots of attention but an analysis provides sobering numbers that show why EVs are not, as the authors say, a "silver bullet" for wringing emissions out of passenger travel.

Why it matters: The paper in Nature Climate Change arrives as officials in California, the country's largest auto market, are pledging aggressive regulations to ramp up EV sales.

How it works: The paper models a long-term CO2 "budget" for U.S. light-duty vehicles that represents that sector's contribution to an emissions pathway consistent with holding temperature rise to 2°C above preindustrial levels.

Threat level: Current policies are nowhere close to putting passenger vehicle emissions on track to meet that budget, it concludes.

  • Using EVs alone to right the ship would be daunting, to say the least. Sales are growing, but right now they're about a percent of the total vehicles on U.S. roads.
  • Closing the sector's CO2 "mitigation gap" with EVs alone would require 90% of the U.S. fleet to be electric by 2050, they find.
  • The authors note that this exceeds even optimistic projections and would mean more than 350 million EVs on the roads in 2050.

The bottom line: The paper concludes that a "wide range" of policies is needed to slash vehicle emissions, including electrification but also very stringent efficiency standards, better mass transit and more.

Go deeper: Ninety Percent of U.S. Cars Must Be Electric by 2050 to Meet Climate Goals (E&E News)

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

GM electrifies image

Photo: GM via AP

General Motors is changing its corporate logo and launching an electric vehicle marketing campaign to reshape its image as clean-vehicle company, AP auto writer Tom Krisher reports.

Why it matters: The campaign comes as stock market investors are enthralled with companies that make electric vehicles.

15 mins ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
20 mins ago - Economy & Business

GameStop as a metaphor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A half-forgotten and unprofitable videogame retailer is, bizarrely and incredibly, on the lips of the nation. That's because the GameStop story touches on economic and cultural forces that affect everyone, whether they own a single share of stock or not.

Why it matters: In most Wall Street fights, the broader public doesn't have a rooting interest. This one — where a group of small traders won a multi-billion-dollar bet against giant hedge funds by buying stock in GameStop — is different.