Lyft’s Electric-Vehicle Commitment a Valuable Step Toward Lowering Emissions

Statement by Don Anair, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 17, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. (June 17, 2020)—The ride-hailing company Lyft has announced a plan to transition to all electric vehicles by 2030. This is an important step to minimize the climate and pollution impact of ride-hailing services, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In a recent report, UCS found the growth of ride-hailing services is increasing global warming pollution, as ride-hailing trips create nearly 70 percent more emissions than the trips they displace.

Below is a statement by Don Anair, deputy and research director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“Ride-hailing companies have a responsibility to rein in the risks they pose to the climate. Lyft’s announcement that they plan to go 100 percent electric by 2030 is a clear recognition of that responsibility, and a step in the right direction. If implemented, Lyft’s commitment will cut their own emissions, spur more growth and innovation in the electric vehicle market, and increase the accessibility of affordable charging infrastructure in lower-income neighborhoods.

“Our research shows that electric vehicles produce considerably less global warming pollution than comparable gasoline vehicles. For 94 percent of the country, driving an electric vehicle is cleaner than driving a gasoline car that gets 50 miles to the gallon. As a result, an electric ride-hailing trip today is about 50 percent less polluting than the average private vehicle trip, and nearly 80 percent lower than the average single-passenger ride-hailing trip. As electric vehicle technology improves and the power grid gets cleaner, that advantage will continue to grow. Electrification is vital to reducing the emissions from transportation.

“It’s encouraging to see Lyft leading the industry with this important announcement. We’ll be watching closely in the coming months and years to make sure the company stands by its commitment and implements these changes in a way that benefits drivers and riders. And Lyft’s ambition should help state policymakers step up their own ambition in supporting an equitable transition to zero-emission vehicles.”

Anair has written a three-part blog series on what ride-hailing companies should do to advance vehicle electrification and cut emissions, examining why ride-hailing should go electric, how fast it can happen, and steps companies can take to advance electrification. UCS’s recent report “Ride-Hailing’s Climate Risks” also explores other strategies to address rising emissions, increased vehicle miles traveled, and higher congestion related to ride-hailing.