US Federal Government Releases Decarbonization Plan For Transportation

Estimated read time 3 min read

Here come the mandates.

After plenty of talk and hype, several US federal government agencies released the plan to “decarbonize” transportation in this country. The “Blueprint” document comes in at 88 pages, so admittedly we haven’t read through the entire thing yet, however some snippets are already raising eyebrows.

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Ultimately, this report is being called a “toolkit” which will be used to entirely cut greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 2050. Of course, square in the cross sights of this plan are fossil fuels, meaning battery-electric vehicles are the perceived way forward.

In fact, the report calls for mandating all new vehicles be “zero-emission models” by mid-2030s. As 17 states have hopped on this bandwagon, there has been concern coercion at the federal level would be coming.

At the same time, the report calls for adding to the already increasing federal incentives for EV and battery research activities as well as encouraging private citizens, businesses, etc. to buy them. This falls in line with the school of thought that the more money the government throws at a problem, the faster and more likely it will be solved. It also acknowledges that the current EV technology is insufficient to service the entire country. A more robust energy generation and distribution infrastructure would also be necessary, a topic we’ve touched on before.

Among the points in the plan is the call for more walkable and bicycle-friendly communities. That’s hardly a shock as an increasing number of municipalities have been doing all they can to discourage and even punish private vehicle use with this same aim in mind. That means smaller stores positioned closer to where people live, as well as office spaces, entertainment venues, and other necessities. How exactly can one guarantee they can get a job so near where they already live? What is the nearby stores don’t carry what a person needs? These concerns aren’t addressed.

Replacing ICE vehicles with modern BEV models is also touched on. While the mandating of EVs for all new cars was delved into, with California’s program used as a model, the outright ban of old ICE vehicles wasn’t mentioned. However, that does seem like the next logical step, a point people on both sides of the issue seem to agree on.

One thing that isn’t mentioned is how this plan will actually eliminate emissions. At best, it seems the plan will shift from direct emissions generated by cars, trucks, ships, trains, planes, etc. to elsewhere. For example, an electric vehicle doesn’t generate emissions per se, but its manufacturing process does. Even if the electricity it uses is generated by solar panels and wind turbines, the production of those “green” devices produces a tremendous amount of emissions. In other words, this might not reduce emissions much if at all, instead transferring them to other industries such as manufacturing.

Read the report for yourself here.

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Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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