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. 

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

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

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…
EPA

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

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

Electrifying transportation reduces emissions AND saves massive amounts of energy

By Karin Kirk   08/07/22  
With high energy prices and increasing urgency to reduce fossil fuel burning, it makes sense to get the most out of every gallon of gasoline or kilowatt-hour of electricity. A previous post showed that charging…

EV manufacturers, regulators debate US ability to hit 50% sales goal by 2030

By Dan Zukowski   08/03/22  
Panelists from the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, Panasonic and the International Council on Clean Transportation debated the United States’ ability to reach the Biden administration’s goal that half of all new vehicle sales…

Congress Is Giving Billions to the Chip Industry. Strings Are Attached.

By Ana Swanson   08/03/22  
Amid a global semiconductor shortage, and as lawmakers dithered over a bill to boost U.S.-based chip manufacturing, Intel went to the Biden administration with a proposal that some officials found deeply alarming. Intel told Commerce…

Road mobility

By Timo Moller and Others   08/01/22  
Tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks, and other road vehicles account for around 75 percent of all carbon emissions from mobility—approximately six gigatons of CO₂ per year. This makes up close to 15 percent of total…

Climate Bill ‘Transformative’ for Auto and Energy Industries

By Jack Ewing and Others   07/29/22  
The $369 billion climate and tax package Democrats in the Senate proposed this week could have far-reaching effects on the kinds of cars that Americans drive, where those cars are made and how the country…

Inflation Reduction Act Falls Short in Prioritizing Bikes

By Noa Banayan   07/28/22  
Introduced on July 27, the climate- and energy-focused Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 misses a massive opportunity by neglecting to invest in an electric bicycle tax credit and other critical initiatives to promote biking for…

Energy Department will lend G.M. and LG $2.5 billion to build battery factories.

By Jack Ewing   07/25/22  
The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that it would lend $2.5 billion to a battery maker owned by General Motors and LG Energy Solution to build battery factories, advancing the Biden administration’s plan to promote…

In Hawaii, youth are suing over climate inaction

By Julia Kane   06/02/22  
As Tropical Storm Olivia bore down on the island of Maui in September 2018, Kaliko and her family grabbed their most important belongings and fled. The storm inundated the island with more than a foot…

Booster is making renewable fuels accessible in ways a gas station cannot

By Lora Kolodny   05/25/22  
Fuel delivery start-up Booster made its name filling up commuters’ cars while they were parked at the office. But after the Covid pandemic shifted so many to remote work, Booster CEO Frank Mycroft says, the…

17 states push EPA to revoke California’s ability to set its own vehicle emission standards

By Nathan Solis   05/13/22  
The attorneys general of 17 states have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider an Environmental Protection Agency decision allowing California to set its own vehicle emission standards.

Creaky U.S. power grid threatens progress on renewables, EVs

By Tim McLaughlin   05/12/22  
After decades of struggle, the U.S. clean-energy business is booming, with soaring electric-car sales and fast growth in wind and solar power. That’s raising hopes for the fight against climate change.

Group plans microgrid-based hydrogen highway in California

By Lisa Cohn   04/22/22  
For example, Gov. Kathy Hochul wants New York to become a green hydrogen hub and wants fuel cell microgrids — which use green hydrogen — to help it achieve this goal.

Here’s How Slowly New York City Is Moving on Electric Vehicles

By Winnie Hu , Nadav Gavrielov and Others   04/06/22  
There are just 15 electric public buses on the streets of New York, out of a fleet of more than 5,900 buses. There is just a single electric police patrol car, a Tesla, and only…

NHTSA Announces New Fuel Economy Standards

04/04/22  
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new fuel economy standards for fleets. The new standards will ensure that OEMs improve vehicle miles-per-gallon, making them more efficient and reducing transportation…

Technology can fix the climate mess—but not without help

By Matt Simon   04/04/22  
Another damning IPCC report insists that to reduce emissions, humanity will need more political willpower and help from nature's carbon-sequestering powers.

Biden Invokes Cold War Statute to Boost Critical Mineral Supply

By Ana Swanson   03/31/22  
President Biden took steps on Thursday to try to increase domestic production of critical minerals and metals needed for advanced technologies like electric vehicles, in an attempt to reduce America’s reliance on foreign suppliers.

Switching To Electric Vehicles Could Save More Than 100,000 Lives, Study Finds

By Jamie Hailstone   03/30/22  
Moving to zero-emission vehicles and energy could help prevent up to 110,000 deaths in the United States, according to a new report.

US transition to electric vehicles would save over 100,000 lives by 2050 – study

By Nina Lakhani   03/30/22  
A speedy nationwide transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy would save more than 100,000 American lives and $1.2tn in public health costs over the next three decades, according to a new report.

Governments Should Subsidize E-Bikes, Not Gasoline Prices

By Lloyd Alter   03/14/22  
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a tax rebate to help offset the increases in the price of gas. It's not quite figured out yet, but his economic adviser DeDe Myers says in a…

How an Electric Truck Factory Became a Lightning Rod in Georgia

By David Gelles   03/14/22  
It is billed as the largest economic development project in the history of Georgia, an electric vehicle factory that could grow to be five times as large as the Pentagon and produce as many as…

PG&E and Ford Collaborate on Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charging Technology in Customers’ Homes

03/11/22  
Today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Ford Motor Company announced a collaboration exploring how Ford’s new F-150 Lightning electric vehicle (EV)—the first commercially available light-duty truck with bidirectional charging technology—can interact with the…

EPA restores California’s ability to set stricter clean car standards

By Rachel Frazin   03/09/22  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Wednesday it would reinstate California's authority to set its own clean car standards after the state's authority was revoked by the Trump administration.

U.S. Postal Service moves ahead with plan to spend billions on gas vehicles

By Emma Newburger   02/23/22  
The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday completed a final regulatory requirement for its plan to replace its delivery fleet with thousands of gas-powered vehicles, forging ahead with a decision that’s drawn strong opposition from the…

Corn-Based Ethanol May Be Worse For the Climate Than Gasoline, a New Study Finds

By Georgina Gustin   02/16/22  
Ethanol made from corn grown across millions of acres of American farmland has become the country’s premier renewable fuel, touted as a low-carbon alternative to traditional gasoline and a key component of the country’s efforts…

Here’s what Super Bowl ads say about climate change

By Kyla Mandel   02/14/22  
Toyota debuted its hybrid Prius for the first time at the Super Bowl in 2005, calling it “good news for planet Earth.” In 2006, there were two Super Bowl ads for new hybrids: one for…

White House rolls out $5 billion funding plan to states for electric vehicle chargers

By Ground News   02/10/22  
The Biden administration on Thursday announced the availability of $5 billion in federal money to states over five years. Each station would need to have at least four fast-charger ports, which enable drivers to fully…

How Billions in Infrastructure Funding Could Worsen Global Warming

By Brad Plumer   02/10/22  
The highways in Colorado, one of the nation’s fastest-growing states, are frequently clogged with suburban workers driving into Denver, skiers heading high into the Rocky Mountains and trucks rumbling across the Interstates.

Washington’s Decisive Decade An Emerging Roadmap for Transportation Decarbonization & Cleaner Air

02/10/22  
With the transportation sector accounting for 45% of the state’s emissions, it will receive the majority of upcoming investments from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). We are firmly in the Decisive Decade for transportation decarbonization…

Do we need roads that charge cars? Detroit thinks so

By Julian Spector   02/02/22  
Electric car drivers in Detroit can soon boost their batteries just by driving down the right road. On Wednesday, Michigan state agencies awarded $1.9 million to Israeli startup Electreon to build a mile-long wireless charging strip.…

More electric vehicles mean more utility microgrids

By Lisa Cohn   01/28/22  
Policy, economic and environmental issues are expected to dramatically boost demand for electric vehicles (EVs), a phenomenon that is spurring more utility microgrids. In fact, three utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Portland General…

5G Connectivity: A Key Enabling Technology To Meet America’s Climate Change Goals

01/26/22  
The impact of climate change is being felt locally and globally. Rising to the challenge, the United States is now taking on ambitious emission reduction targets. It recently rejoined the Paris Agreement in 2021 and…

Commerce Dept. Survey Uncovers ‘Alarming’ Chip Shortages

By Ana Swanson and Others   01/25/22  
The United States is facing an “alarming” shortage of semiconductors, a government survey of more than 150 companies that make and buy chips found; the situation is threatening American factory production and helping to fuel…
PEW

Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead in Statehouses

By Alex Brown   01/24/22  
Automakers are planning to put nearly 1 million new electric vehicles on American roads in 2022. Lawmakers are trying to make sure their states are ready. “We will see a lot more emphasis on electric…

One way to clean up dirty trucks and ships? Design smarter routes

By Maria Gallucci   01/18/22  
The trucks, vans and cargo ships that haul our goods still predominantly use dirty diesel fuels to get to warehouses and crowded ports. New mapping tools are helping freight companies to start planning for a…

A neglected California city reinvents itself with electric cars — and plots a road map for the nation

By Evan Halper   01/10/22  
This Central Valley outpost is one of the most fertile places on Earth, attracting thousands of seasonal laborers to harvest lettuce and reaping windfalls for big agribusiness. But for most of Rey León’s life, the…

Electric, autonomous delivery vehicle boom expected on city streets

By Dan Zukowski   01/07/22  
With Amazon, FedEx and Walmart among those placing major orders for electric delivery vehicles, thousands will appear on the road in coming years, executives announced at CES.

Biden Orders Federal Vehicles and Buildings to Use Renewable Energy by 2050

By Lisa Friedman   12/30/21  
President Biden on Wednesday set in motion a plan to make the federal government carbon neutral, ordering federal agencies to buy electric vehicles, to power facilities with wind, solar and nuclear energy, and to use…

Electric vehicles are gaining traction among Wisconsin drivers and businesses that provide support

By Rick Barrett   12/29/21  
From cars to motorcycles, and fire trucks to charging stations, Wisconsin has a key role in the development of electric vehicles.

Pricing indirect emissions accelerates low—carbon transition of US light vehicle sector

By Paul Wolfram and others   12/08/21  
Large–scale electric vehicle adoption can greatly reduce emissions from vehicle tailpipes. However, analysts have cautioned that it can come with increased indirect emissions from electricity and battery production that are not commonly regulated by transport…

Electric School Bus Virtual Roundtable

By Caroline Hahn   11/30/21  
Recently NYLCV and the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition held a virtual roundtable discussion in conjunction with NYCSBUS to speak about the importance of school bus electrification in New York City, especially within environmental justice…

Zero-Emission Corporate Fleets May Be Closer Than You Think

By Phil Covington   11/30/21  
The transportation sector is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, according to the EPA, having dislodged electricity generation from the top spot in 2017.

Everything in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill

By Jonathan Ponciano   11/15/21  
President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law one of the largest infrastructure packages in U.S. history after months of bipartisan negotiations and tense political infighting, shoring up $1.2 trillion in funds, including $550 billion…