California Moves to Ensure Uber, Lyft Take a Climate-Friendly Path

Statement by Don Anair, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Aug 31, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. (August 31, 2018)—Today, the California state legislature passed the California Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program (SB 1014), a bill to ensure ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are part of California’s climate solutions. The legislation, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September, will require the California Air Resources Board and the California Public Utilities Commission to set progressively more stringent climate emission targets for ride-hailing companies. The bill explicitly requires the targets to include increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles, as well as factoring in the number of passengers per vehicle to encourage pooling of rides.    

Ride-hailing trips are increasing in popularity rapidly across California. These services provide travelers with more transportation choices, but also raise concerns about increased congestion and emissions. Vehicle electrification and pooling of rides are important strategies to reducing transportation emissions, and thus reducing the environmental impacts of ride-hailing services, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  

Below is a statement by Don Anair, Research and Deputy Director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS. 

“Companies like Uber and Lyft have become an essential part of California’s transportation system. This legislation reflects the important role these ride-hailing services now provide in cities and towns across California, but also the need for them to be part of California’s strategy to reduce transportation emissions.   

“This is a first-in-the-nation effort that demonstrates California’s commitment to a cleaner transportation future, and will encourage ride-hailing companies to increase their own efforts to improve sustainability.  

“Transportation represents more than 40 percent of the state’s global warming emissions. Setting targets to advance vehicle electrification and increase pooling of rides is a critical step in ensuring that ride-hailing travel doesn’t endanger the state’s 2030 climate commitments. This bill is a critical step to making sure we meet our climate goals, and we urge Governor Brown to sign it into law.”