Vehicles

From fuel efficient trucks to electric and fuel-cell vehicles, our experts examine the role of transportation in tackling climate change and cutting U.S. oil use.


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Photo: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

New EPA Administrator, Same Bad Idea—Car Standard Rollbacks Would be Awful

, senior vehicles analyst

For months now, we’ve heard from a variety of sources that the Trump administration is readying a proposal which would roll back 2025 vehicle standards to 2020 levels, halting progress on reductions in emissions and oil use at the same time that transportation has become the largest source of global warming emissions in the U.S.  With Scott Pruitt resigning from his post at the EPA, many had high hopes that this could signal a change in direction for the agency—unfortunately, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler appears headed down the same wrong-headed path.

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Photo: NeONBRAND/Unsplash
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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?

, vehicles analyst

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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EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Alamy

Watching Wheeler: 9 Critical Actions the New EPA Chief Should Take

, executive director

If EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler is sincere about returning the EPA to its core mission, here are nine critical actions he will need to take. Read more >

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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

, vehicles analyst

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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Three Revolutions and the Future of Cars: An Interview with Dr. Dan Sperling

, research and deputy director, Clean Vehicles

There are a number of benefits we can expect to see with the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs), including more convenient transportation. One possible consequence resulting from this would be an increase in the number of miles that people drive, creating more vehicle pollution. To avoid this outcome, experts like Dr. Dan Sperling from the University of California, Davis, are stressing the need to incentivize low-carbon vehicles (like electric cars) and an increased number of passengers per trip (sometimes called sharing or pooling). My colleague Abby Figueroa sat down with Dr. Sperling to discuss the future of transportation and his book Three Revolutions: Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future. Read more >

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