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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

There's good news and bad news when it comes to curbing carbon emissions from Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services, courtesy of new analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing creates new emissions challenges.

  • A number of analyses show that it's adding to congestion and cannibalizing trips that otherwise would have happened via mass transit or other low-carbon means (like feet!).
  • But, steps to electrify ride-hailing will have spillover effects that boost EV adoption more broadly.

What they found: Current market and tech trends won't do the trick when it comes to getting the industry to go electric on a timeline consistent with aggressive emissions cuts.

  • "We find that, despite rapidly reducing battery costs, ridehailing electrification is not inevitable by 2030. EVs face many barriers in ridehailing applications, aside from just high up-front prices."

Yes, but: The good news is that it's hardly an impossible nut to crack, RMI concludes, although it will take a village that includes state and local policymakers, utilities and big automakers.

How it works: RMI recommends a wide array of steps to make EV ownership for ride-hailing drivers more accessible and competitive with gasoline vehicles. They include...

  • Improving access to home charging, via steps like power company incentives and building code changes. That makes EVs more competitive for drivers who'll miss fewer rides while charging.
  • Implementing programs that lower costs of public charging and encouraging the buildout of public charging infrastructure.
  • Reducing any "barriers of entry" to buying new and used EVs, such as "scrap and replace" incentives, as well as wider adoption of EV rental programs.

Catch up fast: Uber wants EVs to account for 100% of its rides in American, Canadian and European cities by 2030.

  • And Lyft has vowed to have 100% of rides from its platform come from zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
  • But both companies acknowledge that the targets rely on outside policy changes to succeed.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM finds love on Wall Street for a change

GM EV600 electric delivery truck. Photo: GM

General Motors is finding love on Wall Street, something it hasn't experienced in a very, very long time.

What's happening: Investors are beginning to give credence to the Detroit automaker's electric vehicle strategy — or they're looking for a cheaper way to participate in the Tesla-inspired run-up in electric vehicle stocks.

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.