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Electric Vehicle Emissions: 4 Lessons Learned from the Literature

Some people claim electric vehicles (EVs) emit more pollution than conventional vehicles, but based on what? Certainly not based on published literature. Read More

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Do EVs Matter? Four Takeaways from a Study on Electric Vehicle Emissions

A recent paper from North Carolina State University researchers posed the provocative question: “How much do electric drive vehicles matter to future U.S. emissions?” The article, published in Environmental Science & Technology, attempts to answer this question by examining the possible interactions between our national electricity and transportation system. As you can imagine, this is a complex question with an equally complicated set of answers. However, their finding that sales of electric vehicles (EVs) won’t necessarily lead to lower overall emissions has received the most attention. But does it mean electric vehicles don’t reduce emissions? No, it doesn’t: in fact one of the authors said they didn’t intend to show EVs have no impact on emissions in an interview with Slate. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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President Obama’s State of the Union: the Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Missing

President Obama covered a wide range of issues in last night’s State of the Union speech, with much of it focused on the need for more aggressive action on issues like economic inequality, unemployment, education and training. But he also addressed several of the issues that UCS works on directly, especially climate change and energy. Read More

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Electric Buses: How Plugs and Batteries are Replacing Wires and Diesel

Cities breathe. They take deep breaths in the morning as commuters rush to get to work and exhale in the evening as workers travel away from the city center. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population here in D.C. grows from 584,400 to over 1 million people on a daily basis and the population of Manhattan nearly doubles from 1.5 million to 3.0 million during the work week. This amazing phenomenon is made possible, in part, by city buses, which carry hordes of passengers along concrete arteries toward the heart of the city. Read More

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Moving California Forward: Cleaning up Freight in the Golden State

Can California move more freight while cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality, cutting oil use, and protecting the health of communities near rail yards, warehouses, and ports? A new report released today by a diverse coalition of groups in California, including UCS, examines technologies and strategies to do just that. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Driving a Tesla Model S: A Glimpse into the (Electric) Future

This past weekend I had the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S, and it’s an amazing car to drive. Its luxury and high performance has won it accolades like Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year—but the inherent benefits of being an electric car are what really set it apart.

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Dear EPA: Four Very Personal Reasons Why Clean Cars Matter

I work with very smart people, engineers and scientists who understand the emissions benefits of cutting pollution from our tailpipes and gasoline, and the technology necessary to get there. Our work helped enact the last round of standards to cut tailpipe pollution in the late ‘90s and has been influential in the development of a new round of requirements, referred to as Tier 3. These standards are set to be finalized early in 2014. Read More

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Biodiesel Update: Now with More Soy

I’ve said before that the food versus fuel debate is about more than corn, and specifically that using a large share of America’s vegetable oil for fuel would be counterproductive, and would do more to expand unsustainable palm oil production than to sustainably cut oil use and reduce carbon emissions. Read More

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Is that Truck Wearing a… Skirt?

As you find yourself traveling on the road these holidays, you may notice something different about tractor-trailers—some of them are wearing skirts. Because of the roughly 100,000 miles traveled annually by the average long haul tractor-trailer (ie semi-truck, or big rig), putting on one of these long skirts (pictured below) is like eliminating the global warming pollution from an average car. Here’s how, and why we need more of them. Read More

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What is Lifecycle Assessment—and Why Does it Matter?

Hi, I’m Rachael and I recently joined the UCS team as a Kendall Science Fellow in the Clean Vehicles group. My focus during the fellowship will be on the lifecycle impacts of advanced vehicle technologies, so first I’m going to start with a brief background on what lifecycle assessment is and why it’s important. Read More

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