OAKLAND, Calif. (September 8, 2020)—The ride-hailing company Uber has announced its intention to transition to electric vehicles. If Uber can achieve this goal, it would go a long way toward cleaning up the ride-hailing industry, 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. UCS also found that an electric ride-hailing trip can cut emissions by half compared to the average private car trip.
Below is a statement by Don Anair, deputy and research director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.
“Electrification is critical to cleaning up our transportation system—especially for ride-hailing companies like Uber, which have been shown to contribute more emissions than private vehicle trips. It’s important for Uber to develop a concrete plan that gets them to 100 percent electrification in the near term, in addition to taking other actions to integrate ride hailing into a sustainable transportation system.
“Uber’s commitment to electrifying their fleet signals that they understand that their industry’s growth poses climate risks, and that it is in their power to reduce those risks. As part of this pledge, they’ve committed to reporting data on the climate emissions from their rides—an important step for tracking progress and increasing transparency.
“We’ll be watching closely to make sure that Uber implements this pledge responsibly, without putting the burden of the transition on its drivers. Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft also need to back up their commitments by supporting strong public policies to advance electrification and reduce emissions, such as the ride-hailing climate pollution standards being developed in California. And while this step toward electrification is important, the ride-hailing industry can’t be truly sustainable until it commits to fair treatment of its drivers. We’re encouraged by Uber’s move toward electrification, but we will continue to push for both strong climate rules and labor standards for ride-hailing companies.”
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.