Four Policies Can Reduce U.S. Transport Emissions 45%, Cut Oil Use 23%, Save 5,300 Lives Per Year -
America’s transportation sector is undergoing a profound shift toward cleaner and more efficient vehicles. Today, transportation is responsible for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but continued cost declines in electric vehicle (EV) prices and sufficient deployment of charging infrastructure could dramatically reduce transportation emissions over the coming decades.However, EVs are not the only mechanism for achieving emissions reductions in the transportation sector. Four other promising policies can combine to reduce U.S. transportation emissions 45% by 2050 compared to business-as-usual (BAU) and help accelerate the transition to clean mobility for people and goods.
Using the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS), a peer-reviewed, free and open-source computer model, we assessed the effects of a variety of non-EV policies on transportation sector emissions, financial costs/savings, and avoided premature deaths. The model is able to calculate the combined effects of packages of policies and to disentangle the contributions made by individual policies, allowing policymakers to understand which strategies will most effectively achieve their goals.
Four Policies Can Cut U.S. Transportation Emissions Nearly In Half By 2050
The scenario we set up includes four types of policies, which ramp in linearly from 2017-2050, ultimately reaching global best practice levels:
Fuel economy standards for five vehicle types (light-duty on-road vehicles [LDVs], heavy-duty on-road vehicles [HDVs], aircraft, rail, and ships)
Transportation demand management (TDM) policies for passengers and for freight. For passengers, this represents measures that reduce passenger car use such as zoning for higher density along public transit corridors, zoning for mixed-use development, and improved public transit systems. For freight, it represents truck-to-rail mode shifting and improved logistics.
A feebate, which is a fee levied on the sale of inefficient passenger LDVs used to fund a rebate to the buyers of efficient passenger LDVs
A low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), which encourages a shift from petroleum fuels to biofuels or electricity
These policies are applied on top of a BAU case that includes strong growth in EV penetration (65% of new LDV sales by 2050). The relative contributions of each policy to greenhouse gas abatement are shown in Figure 1.