Biden administration releases ‘toolkit’ for net-zero transportation

WASHINGTON — The Biden Administration on Tuesday released a “blueprint” for reaching net-zero transportation emissions nationwide by 2050.

The report is to be considered a “toolkit” for eliminating greenhouse gas production from the country’s transportation, from cars and trucks to planes, trains and shipping, administration officials said.

The plan suggests making it more convenient for communities to get around to grocery stores, workplaces, schools and entertainment venues to reduce the necessity of carbon-heavy transportation; increasing the energy efficiency of existing transportation options; and transitioning away from transportation powered by fossil fuels.

“The domestic transportation sector presents an enormous opportunity to drastically reduce emissions that accelerate climate change and reduce harmful pollution,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

It sets out several recommendations that will help build a net-zero economy by 2050, including transitioning all new vehicle sales to zero-emission models by the middle of the 2030s. More federal incentives for EV and battery research to reduce costs and roll out charging infrastructure are recommended, as are policies to ensure secure supply chains and trained workforces.

It recommends accelerating the replacement of old, gas-powered vehicles with electric ones and highlights state programs such as California’s that will eventually require all-EV new car sales, but stopped short of recommending a federal gas car ban.

It also outlines investments the federal government has already made towards transportation decarbonization, including hefty incentives for EV purchases, production and charging infrastructure.

Transportation makes up a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Of those emissions, nearly half come from light duty vehicles.

President Joe Biden set a goal to make the economy net zero by 2050 and in December 2021 signed an executive order directing the federal government to do so itself, in part by increasing the number of electric vehicles in the government fleet. The administration has also said it aims for the country to use 100% “clean” electricity by 2035.