For Greener Transport, Fuel Efficiency should be Increased while Promoting Electric Vehicles

One of the main agendas for the new US president, Joe Biden, is to stop climate change and invest in an economy that is clean and to attain this one of the sectors that need to be checked on is the transportation sector, which is responsible for the production of 28 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce these emissions, changing from gas-run vehicles to electric vehicles is one of the major strategies to address the transportation sector’s contribution to climate change. Though EVs can play a vital role in curbing global warming, it should be considered that emissions from the entire vehicle fleet matter for the climate.

With the media putting EVs in the spotlight and their expected importance in fighting against climate change, leaders in the industry like Tesla and other major vehicle manufacturers globally possess ambitious EV plans. Having considered emissions from electricity production, a study has indicated that EVs offer environmental benefits as they release fewer pollutants that lead to global warming compared to gas-powered vehicles. They also cut off the risk associated with oil drilling, refining, and transportation, leading to states like California looking to ensure that new cars and light trucks are electrically powered by 2035. Other states are also following in California’s steps, with Massachusetts looking to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), though EVs have attained much ground in market share, carbon-cutting progress has come to a stop primarily due to the increased popularity of pickups and SUVs with high fuel consumption. Under regulations set by the government, vehicle manufactures have found loopholes to exploit these regulations. When vehicle dealers make increased sales on EVs and other vehicles with high efficiency, they can sell a large number of less fuel-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks while not flaunting their fleet average greenhouse gas emission limits. Due to this, for every extra EV sold, there is no net CO2 reduction overall rather than that EV sales hike fleet-average emissions a notch higher compared to when not in the market.

Though there are policies that have been extensively advocated for to promote the use of EVs, there is a lack of effort to encourage car buyers to choose vehicles that reduce gas emissions, which is the missing link in the whole approach. Therefore, to be able to remove carbon from cars, it is essential to make improvements on the fuel economy of gasoline vehicles expected to be sold in coming years, especially for the pickups and SUVs that are responsible for a large share of the emissions.