California Puts Regulations in Place Requiring Ride Share Services to Go 90% Electric by 2030

A car drives past the departure terminal at LAX airport at the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend during the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic in Los Angeles, California on May 22, 2020. - "Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend the second-highest travel volume on record …
APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

California officials continue their effort to put policies in place in the name of climate change as the state’s air-pollution regulator approved rules late last week requiring ride services such as Uber and Lyft to have 90 percent electric vehicles by 2030.

The move is part of the state’s zero-emissions goal, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

The state Air Resources Board, the agency that regulates air pollution, approved the ride-hailing rules on Thursday, requiring the app companies to start phasing out gas cars in 2023.

The mandate is similar to pledges that Uber and Lyft have already made to switch their fleets to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. Now, the companies are legally bound to reach the state’s slightly lower target.

California is the first state to require that ride-hailing services switch to electric cars. Dan Sperling, a member of the Air Resources Board, said the mandate “sends a strong signal” about the need to reduce emissions from vehicles and offers “a model for other states.”

“We have a great opportunity here to have this significant revolution in transportation be a clean revolution, rather than one that is high emissions,” Democrat state senator Nancy Skinner, who spearheaded the effort, said.

California state legislators approved Skinner’s bill in 2018, which directed the agency to set mandates for how quickly companies would have to switch their vehicles from gas-powered to electric, the Chronicle reported.

Apparently, Uber supports the goal, with Uber’s global policy manager for sustainability, Adam Gromis, saying the company is “optimistic and supportive.”

But the Chronicle and Gromis pointed out that ride services vehicles account for only 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and most come from regular drivers.

“We hope this policy serves as a template to reduce the rest of the 99 percent,” Gromis said. 

Nathan Fletcher, a member of the Air Resources Board, said he supported the new rules but worried that drivers, not companies like Uber and Lyft, would foot the bill for new electric vehicles. 

“We don’t have a mechanism to ensure that this doesn’t just crowd out low-income drivers,” Fletcher told the board.

“California’s Public Utilities Commission will be responsible for creating a plan to help implement the rules,” the Chronicle reported. “The agency is expected to look at ways to provide incentives to help companies and drivers buy electric models.”

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