Uber and Lyft must switch to electric vehicles in California

California’s long-standing struggle to reduce exhaust and carbon pollution from cars and trucks takes a new turn as the state just approved the first rule in the United States requiring operators carpoolers such as Uber and Lyft switched from gasoline to electric vehicles in their networks by the end of the decade.

The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the Clean Mile Standard Thursday in Sacramento, which incorporates the new rule from 2023. In the first year, only 2% of vehicle-miles traveled in ride-sharing fleets in the state must be electric vehicles, but the requirement increases to 50% by 2027 and 90% by 2030. The new rule, which will be enforced by the California Public Utilities Commission which regulates ride-sharing companies, will also attempt to ensure that the cost of electric vehicles to drivers, the access to charging stations and the cost of charging are reduced. for drivers, especially those with low income.

“This decision is another part of the comprehensive program that California has developed to protect public health from harmful emissions,” said CARB President Liane Randolph. “The transportation sector is responsible for almost half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, the vast majority of which come from light vehicles. This action will help give certainty to the state’s climate efforts and improve air quality in our most disadvantaged communities.

“The transportation sector is responsible for almost half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, the vast majority of which come from light vehicles.”

President of CARB Liane Randolph

The move by California regulators aligns with the state’s plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035 and an effort by California lawmakers to target ride-sharing fleets to dramatically reduce emissions. Uber and Lyft have worked to bring more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles into their networks in recent years, with Uber committing up to $ 800 million to help its drivers switch to electric vehicles. The company also aims to convert all of its rides to electricity by 2040. Lyft has an even more aggressive goal, saying it is pushing to convert all its rides to electric vehicles by 2030, aligned with the new California rule.

The move also comes as President Joe Biden urges automakers to quickly ramp up production and sales of battery-powered cars and trucks to tackle climate change. To do so, the Biden administration is demanding $ 174 billion in incentives for customers and manufacturers as part of a massive infrastructure bill.

“Uber shares California’s climate and EV goals and applauds the Clean Miles Standard as one of the world’s premier emissions policies based on real-world vehicle use,” said Adam Gromis , Global Head of Sustainability at Uber. “With car trips accounting for only 1% of California light-duty vehicle emissions, we hope the CMS becomes a useful model for examining the remaining 99%.”

Uber, based in San Francisco, also intends to contribute “our resources and partnerships across the electric mobility value chain to leverage existing state policies to benefit low-income commercial drivers on time. part-time and full-time, ”said Gromis.

Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to getting more electric vehicles into their networks, ridesharing companies can also get credits to meet the state’s greenhouse gas targets if they invest in “a sidewalk and bike path infrastructure that Supports active transportation and connection to transit via integrated travel booking applications, ”the Air Resources Board said in a statement.

California has implemented incentives to encourage the purchase of so-called zero-emission vehicles, including a rebate up to $ 1,500, and a separate state program offering discounts of up to $ 7,000 for low-income electric vehicle buyers. There is also a program to encourage the scrapping of inefficient and high-polluting older vehicles, which offers up to $ 9,500 to encourage low-income drivers to switch to something cleaner.

“This regulation is a great victory for public health, the climate and for carpool drivers as well if Uber and Lyft step up and support the electrification of their fleets,” said Elizabeth Irvin, senior transport analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Carpool services in urban areas have increased pollution and congestion and reduced the number of users of climate-friendly public transport. California air regulators took a critical step today to ensure these companies take responsibility for their pollution by switching to electric vehicles. “

California’s Air Resources Board, which has the power to set pollution rules beyond those of the federal government for decades due to the state’s lingering air pollution problems, said the new regulations could ensure that Uber and Lyft are meeting the goals they’ve already announced. While the regulation approved Thursday only applies to California, more than a dozen more states are following its auto emissions rules, indicating that others may follow its lead on ridesharing companies.

Uber fell less than 1% to $ 49.44 in Nasdaq trading on Thursday, before the new rule was announced. Lyft shares were down 0.5% to $ 51.96.

About Robert Pierson

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