Falling costs for battery and fuel cell technology mean that governments can push for widespread deployment of zero-emissions vehicles without straining taxpayers, University of California, Davis researchers say.

Why it matters: Transportation overtook electricity generation a few years ago as the nation's largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • However, zero-emissions vehicles typically come with higher upfront costs, and widespread adoption requires new charging infrastructure.

The big picture: Analysts with the school's Institute of Transportation Studies have been modeling projected costs — and ultimately savings — from transitioning moving to zero-emissions cars, trucks and buses in California.

  • Their analysis this year shows substantially lower costs and larger eventual savings than even projects made a year ago.

By the numbers: The latest analysis, based on achieving an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from transportation by 2050, finds a total of $7 billion in "transition costs" between 2020 and 2028.

  • That's substantially lower than projected costs when the conducted the same modeling in 2019.

Where it stands: The analysis comes as California officials are looking to substantially boost electric vehicle penetration, including new regulations last month on truck sales. Dan Sperling, a co-author of the UC-Davis analysis, is a member of the California Air Resources Board.

The bottom line: "After 2030, the costs of owning and operating [zero-emissions vehicles] are projected to be lower than gasoline and diesel cars and trucks. The savings, from 2030 to 2045 could reach $100 billion," they write.

  • They also note that taxpayers as a whole need not bear the costs, citing policy options like fees on buyers of inefficient internal combustion vehicles combined with rebates for zero-emissions vehicle buyers.

Go deeper

Ford-owned scooter company Spin makes "carbon negative" pledge

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spin, the Ford-owned electric scooter company, said Wednesday that it will find a way to cut more carbon emissions than it creates by 2025.

Why it matters: It's a fairly quick time frame, which means lots of tangible stuff needs to happen soon. It also comes as "micro-mobility" services are emerging as a wildcard in urban carbon emissions.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.