Transportation

TRANSPORTATION

The transportation sector —which includes all modes of travel through land, air, and sea to move people and goods—now accounts for a third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions*, negatively affecting the health and well-being of millions of Americans, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Transportation costs are the second largest annual household expense in our country and for the poorest Americans, the financial burden of transportation is disproportionately and unsustainably high. Already in 2020, according to the EPA, transportation generated the largest share of greenhouse gases in the U.S.

In 2018, twelve states (and the District of Columbia) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic responded, creating the Transportation and Climate Initiative to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. This initiative is still being facilitated by the Georgetown Climate Center.

On January 11, 2023,  The Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Developed by the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Blueprint is a landmark strategy for cutting all greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector by 2050. There is a very effective graphic on page 5 of the Blueprint clarifying which of the different modes of travel offer the greatest long opportunities, as the administration works to meet the goal of net-zero GHG emissions economy-wide by 2050.

*Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. EPA tracks total U.S. emissions by publishing the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. This annual report estimates the total national greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with human activities across the United States. 

CREDIT: EPA

CURRENT NEWS

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Highlight Article

Trains Are Cleaner Than Planes, Right?

By Hiroko Tabuchi 04/04/24
Recently, I did something I’ve long dreamed of. I took the train across America. The views were majestic, particularly as we swayed through the West. The Wi-Fi was bad, and the food not much better.…
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Few Stations and $200 to Fill Up: Life on California’s ‘Hydrogen Highway’

By Todd Woody 04/04/24
As California’s longtime chief climate regulator, Mary Nichols once championed hydrogen fuel cell cars. Just a few years ago, as the state spent tens of millions of dollars on a planned network of fueling stations…
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Keep on Trucking: The Biggest Coordinated Investment in Freight Electrification Is Here

03/13/24
The White House announcement does what many climate and environmental justice advocates have been calling for: It sets the stage for fully zero-emission trucking by 2040 by coordinating and disseminating the billions in available federal…
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Inside the E.P.A. Decision to Narrow Two Big Climate Rules

By Lisa Friedman 03/01/24
Michael Regan, the E.P.A. administrator, said the Biden administration would meet its climate goals despite tweaking regulations on automobiles and power plants...
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In pivotal Michigan, the electric vehicle transition jolts a Biden-Trump rematch

By Jim Puzzanghera 02/25/24
Dan Mayville, a skilled trades worker at a Ford engine factory, readily admitted that United Auto Workers negotiators last fall scored an excellent contract with “sick money” for employees like him after a strike against…
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Will America ever stop building more highways?

By Shannon Osaka 02/15/24
For decades, the United States has built and expanded a 220,000-mile network of state and interstate highways, easing cross-country travel while dividing cities and boosting suburban sprawl.
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Flush With Biden’s Infrastructure Cash, New York Is Choosing Highways Over Public Transit

By Sam Mellins 02/05/24
President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a centerpiece of his first term — and a huge windfall for New York. The state is expected to receive $36 billion from the law to upgrade its…
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The EV Revolution Isn’t Only Arriving on Four Wheels

By Akshat Rathi, Christine Driscoll, and Oscar Boyd 11/04/23
Cars make up only half the electric mobility picture. There are around 1.3 billion passenger cars on the road at the moment, the vast majority of which still need to be electrified. But there are…
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The Most Interesting EVs Are the Weird Ones

By Andrew Moseman 10/16/23
The Shogo’s front end shouts fast, and its steering yoke could’ve come off a race car — no surprise, since Honda motorsport engineers designed and hand-assembled it. Sure, the little electric vehicle tops out at…
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3 counties could power over 250,000 homes with clean energy with one change: ‘Imagine our entire state’s potential’

By Jane Donohue 10/14/23
Anew analysis demonstrates that three Southern California counties could power over 270,000 homes by lining their highways with solar energy infrastructure
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Startups with electric vans race to fill demand for zero-emissions delivery

By Nick Carey and Lisa Baertlein 09/18/23
A clutch of European and U.S. delivery company startups is racing to serve the growing market for offering zero-emission, electric last-mile deliveries in cities to retailers and consumers before giant shippers do the same.1
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The RVs of the future are here — and they use free, off-the-grid energy powered by a surprising piece of technology

By Mila Dyson 08/09/23
You’ve been dreaming of hitting the open road in your RV, but you’re worried about the cost of fuel to power the RV’s functions on arrival. You also might’ve heard that you could run your…
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KEY RESOURCES

The Station

07/31/23
Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.

The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization: A Joint Strategy to Transform Transportation

01/12/23
In September of 2022, the leaders of the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enable the four federal agencies to…

Vehicle Electrification Group

07/12/22
The Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Professor Jeremy Michalek and Professor Jay Whitacre in 2009 to study systems-level issues of hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Research areas include:

Vehicle-to-grid (V2g): Everything You Need To Know

06/17/22
V2G stands for “vehicle to grid” and is a technology that enables energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric car. With electric vehicle-to-grid technology—also known as car-to-grid—a…

Electric Vehicle Investments Provide Benefits Across the U.S.

06/13/22
This map compiles ZETA research to illustrate EV investments across the country. These private investments are creating tens of thousands of good-paying auto jobs that will reinvigorate communities, generating thousands of additional indirect jobs. And…

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

05/23/22
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse…

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Transportation?

10/07/21
The statistician and engineer W. Edwards Deming once said “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” Some of the best data come from the Our World in Data team at Oxford University. Their…

Profitably Decarbonizing Heavy Transport and Industrial Heat

08/23/21
To avoid the worst risks of runaway climate change, the world must cut global greenhouse gas emissions— chiefly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels—in half by 2030 and to about zero by 2050. Of that…

A Low Carbon Fuel Standard: In Brief

08/16/21
As part of the congressional deliberations on addressing climate change, Congress may consider policy options for reducing greenhouse gas(GHG)emissions from the transportation sector. One of the leading contributors to the U.S. GHG emission profile in…

Climate Action Pathway

08/11/21
By 2050, passenger and freight transport will be completely decarbonized by shifting to a more sustainable, diverse and resilient range of modes and vehicle technologies. Although individual countries will need to identify their own pathway…

PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS: Biden Administration Advances Expansion & Modernization of the Electric Grid

04/27/21
Departments of Energy and Transportation Announce New Actions to Upgrade America’s Power Infrastructure — Creating Jobs, Increasing Reliability, and Combating Climate Change

Biden unveils the first $2 trillion of his colossal 2-part infrastructure plan

04/01/21
Biden has unveiled the first part of his up to $4 trillion plan to overhaul the American economy.

Our Transportation Future

07/27/20
The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a collaboration of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia. In December 2018, nine TCI states and D.C. committed to design and create a market-based program over…

Building Resilient Transportation

06/10/20
State and regional transportation agencies across the country are facing extreme weather events that damage roads and bridges and cost large sums to repair, not to mention the cost to the economy from disrupted travel.

The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America

04/30/20
Transportation is the largest source of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the United States today and the bulk of those emissions come from driving in our cities and suburbs.

Solar carports: how do they work and how much do they cost?

04/25/20
While a typical carport or patio cover provides shading and is undoubtedly a value-add for a home or automobile owner, its one-dimensional simplicity is a missed opportunity. If you’re a PV fanatic following emerging technologies in the solar industry,…

Fuel Economy in Hot Weather

04/25/20
Hot weather can actually increase your fuel economy. Your engine warms up to an efficient temperature faster; summer grades of gasoline can have slightly more energy; and warm air causes less aerodynamic drag than cold…

Fueling a Clean Transportation Future

03/28/20
Smart Fuel Choices for a Warming World.

MacRebur: The Plastic Road Company

03/02/20
MacRebur’s mission is to help solve the waste plastic epidemic and the poor quality of roads we drive on around the world today. Our innovative solution involves processing waste plastics destined for landfill or incineration…

IMO 2020: The Big Shipping Shake-Up

01/31/20
Over 90% of all global trade takes place on our oceans. Unfortunately, the network of 59,000 vessels powering international commerce runs on sulfur-laden bunker fuel, and resulting emissions are causing problems on dry land.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)

01/07/20
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from…

Carbon Pollution from Transportation

01/07/20
Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is…

Climate Collaborative – Transportation Resources

01/07/20
This page highlights case studies, videos, tools, and other resources from our partners. Adopting efficiencies in shipping cargo, logistics optimization, and intermodal transport can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the global movement of goods…

A brief introduction to climate change and transportation

09/22/19
How to reconcile people's love affair with their vehicles and society's need to reduce carbon emissions?

The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)

11/21/19
The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) promotes the integration of sustainable transport in global policies on sustainable development and climate change and leveraging action in support of the implementation of the global policies.…

MORE NEWS

Extreme heat is affecting oil refineries in Texas, pushing up gas prices

By Spectrum News   08/01/23  
Multiple days of temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the Southern states are affecting oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana, diminishing gas supplies and increasing prices.
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The Biden Administration Wants To Boost Fuel Efficiency To 58 MPG By 2032

By Alan Ohnsman   07/28/23  
The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday unveiled a proposal that would require the fuel efficiency of the average new passenger vehicle to be at least 58 miles per gallon in less than a decade, building…
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How Biden’s climate law will — and won’t — transform America

By Maxine Joselow   07/20/23  
Almost a year ago, President Biden signed into law the most ambitious climate bill in the nation’s history. Now, as a blistering heat wave bakes the southern United States, a timely new report illustrates how…
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Taking Stock 2023: US Emissions Projections after the Inflation Reduction Act

By Ben King, Hannah Kolus and Others   07/20/23  
Every year, Rhodium Group provides an independent projection of future US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, under current policy and expectations for economic growth, future fossil fuel prices, and clean energy cost and performance trends. This…
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Jordan Calls For Unified Global Electric Grid To Streamline Green Energy Transportation

By Pooja Chandak   07/03/23  
The Assistant Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Jordan, Hassan Hayari, emphasized the need for a unified global electric grid to facilitate the transport of green energy from countries with abundant…
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Renewable Energy and Cleaner Transport: Egypt Updates its Climate Commitments

By Farah Rafik   07/01/23  
The government of Egypt announced the second update of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on Monday, 26 June, reflecting its heightened climate action ambitions.
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Streamlining Decarbonized Transportation: Why Utilities and Fleets Should Adopt a Platform Approach

By Ken Munson   06/27/23  
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), electric vehicles are expected to make up 60% of total global car sales by 2030, a remarkable surge from the current 2.6%.
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City of Madison to receive $38 million for public transportation, clean energy

By Juliana Tornabene   06/27/23  
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly $38 million in federal funds will go toward supporting transportation and clean energy projects in the City of Madison. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) explained Monday that the Federal Transit…
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NREL Researchers Traveled the Southwest To See the Future of Transportation in Action

By Anna Squires   06/20/23  
Imagine this: You fly into Phoenix late, long after most people are in bed. You stroll outside, suitcase in tow, and a sleek white car glides up to the curb to meet you. It is…
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There’s No Uber or Lyft. There Is a Communal Tesla.

By Patricia Leigh Brown   06/16/23  
Three mornings a week, Herminia Ibarra makes her way to a fleet of sparkling electric vehicles lined up in a dusty alley alongside a former diesel repair shop. Of the five Chevy Bolts, three Tesla…
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Are We There Yet? On The Road To A Clean Transportation Future

By Anthony Eggert   06/13/23  
“Are we there yet?” is a classic refrain of the family road trip, and increasingly a question that everyone – from journalists to economists to climate-concerned citizens – poses about the global transition from fossil…
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U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard: Challenges and opportunities on the path to decarbonizing the transportation sector

By Jonathan Lewis   06/13/23  
Biofuels could play a key role in decarbonizing segments of the transportation sector, but it’s essential that we design our bioenergy policies in ways that ensure their overall climate benefit. To do so, bioenergy policies, like…
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Uber Vows to Scrap ‘Unnecessary’ Plastic Waste From Deliveries

By Thomas Seal   06/08/23  
Uber Technologies Inc. pledged to eliminate carbon emissions and “unnecessary” plastic waste from its growing delivery business by 2040, bringing it in line with goals at its ride-hailing arm.
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EVs aren’t enough: How buses, trains, biking, and walking can fight climate change

05/08/23  
Transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in the U.S., largely because American transportation infrastructure is oriented around private car ownership (also called car dependency). While the shift from gas to electric cars is…
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China EVs rising, Tesla loses profit ground and Lyft preps for deep cuts

By Kirsten Korosec   04/24/23  
If there was any doubt that China is a leader in EVs, the Shanghai Auto Show should have erased those thoughts. China is developing and producing compelling EVs and reaping the sales as a result.…
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After Dangling Climate Carrots, Biden’s EPA Brings The Sticks

By Alexander C. Kaufman   04/24/23  
New regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency aim to set requirements so tough, power plants turn to carbon capture and carmakers roll out more EVs. Eight months ago, President Joe Biden signed into law one…
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This Week in Apps: Apple ‘sherlocks’ journaling apps, Twitter’s checkmark apocalypse, Snap summit recap

By Sarah Perez   04/24/23  
Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
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Biden Administration Proposes Strongest-Ever Pollution Standards for a Clean-Transportation Future

04/12/23  
Building on rapid advancements and investments in clean vehicle manufacturing, including investments in domestic manufacturing in the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA’s proposed standards would deliver on President Biden’s agenda to tackle the climate crisis. The…
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E.P.A. Lays Out Rules to Turbocharge Sales of Electric Cars and Trucks

By Coral Davenport   04/12/23  
The Biden administration is proposing rules to ensure that two-thirds of new cars and a quarter of new heavy trucks sold in the U.S. by 2032 are all-electric....
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More bus garage delays and blown budgets put T fleet electrification goal in doubt

By Taylor Dolven   04/03/23  
The MBTA is staring down two climate goals: electrify nearly 30 percent of its bus fleet by 2028 and 100 percent by 2040. The latter is a legal obligation, and the former is a self-imposed…
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Ford expects EV business unit to lose $3B this year, hit profitability in late 2026

By Kirsten Korosec   03/23/23  
Ford lost about $3 billion on its EV and digital services business over the past two years, a unit now known as Model e, and isn’t expected to be profitable (on an adjusted basis that…
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U.S. can shift to EVs without widespread, destructive mining, report finds

By Christopher Bonasia   03/21/23  
The new report suggests limiting electric vehicle battery sizes and reducing car dependency to lower the demand for lithium by up to 66%.
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Drone delivery is about to get real

By Joann Muller   03/16/23  
Zipline and Wing, two of the world's leading drone delivery companies, are amping up their operations in preparation for wide-scale U.S. deployment starting next year. Why it matters: The companies' new, more sophisticated systems are…
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National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Standards and Requirements

02/28/23  
This final rule establishes regulations setting minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and projects for the construction of publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers under…
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U.S. Eyes Trade Deals With Allies to Ease Clash Over Electric Car Subsidies

By Alan Rappeport   02/24/23  
The Biden administration hopes to reach limited free trade agreements with countries in Europe and Asia that would not require congressional approval as it looks to ease allies’ concerns about legislation that President Biden signed…
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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Funding for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Corridors, Expansion of EV Charging in Underserved Communities

02/15/23  
DOE and DOT Announce $7 Million for New Projects to Accelerate Decarbonization of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Freight Transportation, Release Funding Notice of Intent to Increase Accessibility and Functionality of EV Chargers
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Improved Asthma Symptoms, Air Pollution Linked to Electric Vehicle Use in California

By Pearl Steinzor   02/08/23  
Drivers choosing zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), otherwise known as battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell cars, have been increasing in California, with efforts to tackle climate change. However, little is known about the…
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Pete Buttigieg says U.S. can fix the most dangerous thing in transportation

By Michael Laris   02/03/23  
It may not be possible to be upbeat about one of the most depressing topics in transportation. But in seeking to marshal the power of the federal government to help localities cut the nation’s tragic…
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This Guide Can Help You Save Money and Fight Climate Change

By Nadja Popovich and Elena Shao   02/01/23  
Looking to make your home more energy-efficient, install solar panels or buy an electric car? You may be able to save thousands of dollars on climate-friendly purchases through federal tax credits and rebates.
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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of Nearly $1.7 Billion to Modernize Fleets and Deploy Clean Transit Buses Across America

01/27/23  
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of nearly $1.7 billion to support state and local efforts to modernize aging transit fleets with low- and no-emission buses, renovate and…
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Aviation industry in crosshairs for next biofuel push

By Valerie Yurk   01/23/23  
Congress and the Biden administration aim to boost the use of sustainable fuels for the emissions-heavy aviation industry, setting up a new front in the debate over biofuels.
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Youngkin says he blocked Ford battery plant on China concerns

By Gregory S. Schneider   01/13/23  
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said this week that he had rejected efforts by Ford Motor Co. to consider locating an electric battery plant in Virginia over concerns that the automaker’s partnership with China created a…
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Biden releases blueprint to decarbonize transportation sector

01/10/23  
Landmark Blueprint Will Advance the President’s Clean Transportation Agenda, Slashing Consumer Costs, Improving Public Health, and Increasing the Nation’s Energy Security.
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EPA enacts tougher pollution rule for trucks, vans and buses

By Anna Phillips   12/20/22  
Manufacturers would have to reduce harmful tailpipe pollution from new trucks, delivery vans and buses under a long-awaited regulation the Biden administration finalized Tuesday — a rule that could protect public health in poor communities…
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Colorado Wants More EVs on the Road, Without a Gas Car Ban

By Angely Mercado   12/15/22  
Colorado's draft EV plan includes e-bikes, electrifying larger vehicles, and setting up more charging stations.
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Massive Traffic Experiment Pits Machine Learning Against ‘Phantom’ Jams: UC Berkeley Research

By Bea Karnes   11/28/22  
Many traffic jams are caused by human behavior: a slight tap on the brakes can ripple through a line of cars, triggering a slowdown — or complete gridlock — for no apparent reason.
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Zero Emission Transportation Association Marks Two-Year Anniversary with Release of Annual Report

11/22/22  
The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) marked the organization’s two-year anniversary with the release of its annual report today. ZETA is the first industry-backed coalition of its kind advocating for 100% electric vehicles (EVs) sales…
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Energy Department awards $74M for battery recycling, reuse

11/17/22  
The Energy Department on Wednesday awarded nearly $74 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law for 10 projects to advance recycling and reuse of batteries for electric vehicles and other purposes.
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States test an electrifying idea: roads that can recharge your EV

By Jenni Bergal   11/16/22  
On two short stretches of road near downtown Detroit, Michigan transportation officials hope to make history. Over the next two years, they plan to embed technology in the pavement that can charge electric vehicles while…
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Demystifying electric car charging

By Joann Muller   11/07/22  
Drivers typically know whether their car takes "regular" or "premium" gasoline. But when their fuel is electricity, filling up can be downright confounding.
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Ford: U.S. should ease ‘foreign entity’ rules so that more EVs get tax credits

By David Shepardson   11/04/22  
Ford Motor Co (F.N) said on Thursday the U.S. Treasury Department should limit the definition of a "foreign entity of concern" to ensure more electric vehicles can qualify for up to $7,500 in consumer tax…
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Indianapolis adds more than 80 electric and electric-hybrid buses to public transit fleet

By YCC Team   10/21/22  
Diesel buses release carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And their exhaust also contains other pollutants that can worsen asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other health problems. “So our goal is to reduce our fleet to zero…
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Biden-Harris Administration Awards $2.8 Billion to Supercharge U.S. Manufacturing of Batteries for Electric Vehicles and Electric Grid

10/19/22  
The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced the first set of projects funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and…
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Trains, E-Bikes, & Blimps — Bill McKibben Envisions Slower, Cleaner Transportation

By Steve Hanley   10/04/22  
Bill McKibben is a hero of the fight to preserve the Earth as a place where humans can live sustainably. We have his photograph prominently displayed on the wall of our executive suite at CleanTechnica…
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Traffic is coming back to downtowns across America

By Alex Fitzpatrick   09/26/22  
Downtown traffic congestion in major U.S. cities has risen significantly since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but remains short of pre-outbreak levels, per a new analysis. Why it matters: The pandemic has been…
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Gender equality and The role of women In decarbonising Transport

By Danielle Bassan and Others   09/13/22  
The transport sector is currently not on track to reach its net zero carbon targets. Transport currently contributes almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions, which are projected to increase due to…
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How long-gone transit lines shaped cities — and why the pandemic might, too

By Ian Duncan   08/18/22  
More than a century ago, streetcars opened the way to the suburbs as a burgeoning middle class began to leave behind downtown when finishing work each day. Streetcars are generally long gone, replaced by buses…
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The electric car Battery Belt is reshaping America’s heartland

By Joann Muller   08/17/22  
The climate bill President Biden signed into law yesterday will open up tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for high-tech electric vehicle plants across the South and the Midwest. Why it matters: The package…
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Is sustainable mining possible? The EV revolution depends on it.

By Evan Halper   08/11/22  
Electric cars are still rare in this marshy stretch of central Minnesota, where it is more common to pass a flock of wild turkeys on the country roads than a Nissan Leaf. But the region…
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Fossil Fuel Subsidies & Electrification of Transport

08/08/22  
We need to halve emissions by 2030 to have a chance of hitting net zero by 2050, and fossil-fuel subsidies are one of the biggest financial barriers hampering the world’s shift to renewable energy sources.…
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