Transportation for America Electric Vehicles Are Not Enough, USA, 2019

  • Date Launched: Sep 1, 2019
  • Dates given are approximate.


Despite efforts to reduce emissions through innovative electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel efficient cars, Transportation for America believes that these solutions alone will never be enough to decarbonize the transportation sector. They believe that greater emphasis should focus on land use and other forms of mobility like transit, walking and biking to ultimately reduce the frequency and length people drive. This is based on the knowledge that vehicle emissions are the result of a combination of fuel efficiency, the carbon content of fuel, and the distance people travel. States like California and Minnesota have worked to increase EV adoption and fuel efficiency standards, however they are finding they still need to reduce their vehicle miles traveled to reach their climate targets. Transportation for America points to the disproportionate federal investment given to highway construction rather than public transit or bike and pedestrian safety for the country’s affinity for driving, with larger roadways causing “induced demand”. Additionally, the paper identifies several issues with heavily relying on EVs as a climate change solution, stating that EVs will not improve the congestion that creates unpleasant or dangerous trips on foot or bike and that EVs do not resolve any of the existing inequities related to transportation today. The paper ends with a list of considerations to enable fewer and shorter car trips.