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.

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Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Working from home is driving up power bills

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Residential electricity consumption rose 10% in the second quarter as the pandemic kept many people at home, new research shows.

Why it matters: The new paper from Tufts University economist Steve Cicala is another window onto how COVID-19 is shifting energy use patterns and creating financial hardship.

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With 13 days until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities.

Of note: Liberal Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

  • The lower court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit arguing that curbside voting would "violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.