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New report provides roadmap for California to achieve carbon-free transportation

Numerous policies are available to reach ‘destination: zero carbon’
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sacramento, CA – The transportation sector is the largest source of global warming pollution in California. But a new report from Environment California Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group describes how California can build a zero-carbon transportation future — all while cleaning our air and creating safer, healthier communities.

Entitled Destination: Zero Carbon: Three strategies to transform transportation in America, the report looks at the factors underlying high transportation emissions, and proposes new policy solutions. Americans drive more than 10,000 miles a year on average, often in inefficient gasburning vehicles. Poor public transit and unsafe conditions for walking or biking leave many Americans with few good low-carbon transportation options.

“California’s transportation system is due for a zero-carbon upgrade,” said Dan Jacobson, Director, with Environment California Research and Policy Center. “With clean, electric cars and buses, and safe streets for walking and biking, we can take a big bite out of California's contribution to global warming. This report shows how it can be done.”

The report outlines three goals that are achievable with proven policies and existing technology. These objectives can help eliminate emissions from cars and light trucks and contribute to America’s transition to a zero-carbon transportation future. They are:

• All new light-duty cars and light-duty trucks sold after 2035 should be electric vehicles (EVs).

• U.S. transit agencies and school districts should replace all transit and school buses with clean electric buses by 2030.

• The U.S. should at least double the number of people who travel by foot, bike or transit by 2030.

"Global warming demands that we set ambitious goals to get off fossil fuels — including ones for our cars and trucks," said Gideon Weissman, Policy Analyst with Frontier Group and coauthor of the report. "Luckily, we now have the technology and the tools to meet those goals — from advanced zero-emission electric vehicles to proven policies that can help Americans drive less and live more."

Along with policy recommendations, the report also highlights state and local governments around the country already taking actions to create a more sustainable transportation system. For example, in California the California Air Resources Board has adopted a policy that will require 100 percent of new buses purchased by transit agencies to be electric by 2029, and has set a statewide goal of a fully electrified bus fleet by 2040. In addition, the report highlights the charging stations that California (along with Oregon and Washington) have installed on our highway system to make charging easier and faster.

In addition, California cities and other institutions are already tackling this issue. For example:

• Los Angeles just announced it is purchasing 155 electric buses

• Sacramento has free public transit for youth

• UC Riverside has free bus service for students, administrators and teachers

“California should step up to the climate challenge and re-imagine transportation,” said Jacobson.. “From Eureka to San Diego we can envision a better, carbon-free way to get around. It is a future that we must achieve if we want to make our state a healthy and clean place for future generations.”

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Environment California Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentcaliforniacenter.org.