Jimmy O'Dea

Vehicles analyst

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Jimmy O’Dea is a vehicles analyst in the Clean Vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is an expert on cleaner vehicle and freight technologies and policies. See Jimmy's full bio.

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California Gets one Step Closer to Zero-Emission Transit Buses

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently released a draft standard for transitioning the state’s transit buses to zero-emission battery or fuel cell technologies by 2040. This is great news for bus riders, bus drivers, local air quality, and tackling global warming emissions from the transportation sector.

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Map of the United States showing the fuel efficiency that a diesel bus would need to have the same life cycle global warming emissions as a battery electric bus in each region.

Electric vs. Diesel vs. Natural Gas: Which Bus is Best for the Climate?

Battery electric buses – the people’s electric vehicle – are becoming more and more common. An increasing number of transit agencies – large and small – are making announcements about purchasing electric buses and putting them into operation.

The obvious benefit of electric buses is that they don’t have any tailpipe emissions. A question we often get at UCS is, “What about emissions used to generate electricity for electric vehicles?”

We answered this for buses charged on California’s grid and found that battery electric buses had 70 percent lower global warming emissions than a diesel or natural gas bus (it’s gotten even better since that analysis). So what about the rest of the country?

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Photo credit: MJW15 CC BY-SA 4.0
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Photo: 運転太郎/Wikimedia Commons

VW Settlement: A Needed Jolt for Electric Trucks and Buses, But More Is Needed

It has been nearly three years since the Volkswagen diesel scandal first broke. Since then, a handful of settlements have been reached, one of which provides states funding to offset the extra pollution emitted by defective Volkswagens.

A dozen states have recently finalized such funding plans and others are taking public comment on draft plans. These plans offset a majority of the pollution by providing financial incentives for the purchase of clean trucks and buses.

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DC Circulator bus

More Great News for Clean Air and Public Transit

To meet air quality and climate goals, we need widespread electrification of all types of vehicles. Buses are the people’s electric vehicle. Read more >

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Leadership from California mayors on climate change, air quality, and public transit

What do the Super Bowl, national parks, and California mayors have in common? If you guessed electric buses, you’re right. Electric buses offer significant benefits for air quality and climate change compared to diesel and natural gas buses. And the impacts of pollution from heavy-duty combustion vehicles are large, despite these vehicles making up a small fraction of vehicles on the road. This is one reason so many cities across the country are beginning to adopt zero-emission buses. Read more >

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