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Cutting Vehicle Emissions Faster and More Equitably

A Webinar on Reducing Car Pollution

 

Using detailed gasoline consumption data to help the most gasoline-burdened drivers switch to EVs

In the webinar hosted by Coltura, RMI and The Greenlining Institute, our expert panel talked about the ways governments can help get the drivers using the most gasoline (Gasoline Superusers) switch to EVs — helping cut emissions much faster and saving families thousands of dollars a year.

We explored who Superusers are, and how helping them switch to EVs can accelerate emission cuts and provide more equitable access.

Coltura’s recent report analyzing the nation’s gasoline consumption was discussed along with ways for governments to use granular gasoline consumption data to target EV deployment for maximum environmental, economic and equity impact.

From policy recommendations to innovative outreach methods, the webinar offers insights into maximizing the impact of EV adoption on reducing air pollution and carbon emissions as well as lifting up the most gasoline-burdened families.

 
 
 
 

"Focusing on converting the 21 million American gasoline superusers to EVs is a multi-gigaton carbon reduction opportunity." - Matthew Metz

"By helping lower and middle-income gasoline superusers switch to EVs, we can maximize the gasoline reduction impact of every EV and lift families who are most burdened by gasoline." - Janelle London

 
 

 

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Cutting Vehicle Emissions - Learn More About The Webinar

Panelists

  • Janelle London is the host of the webinar and a co-executive director of Coltura. She is an expert in using data to address climate issues and has a deep understanding of the impact of vehicle emissions on the environment.
  • Matthew Metz is the founder and co-executive director of Coltura. He has been at the forefront of the anti-gasoline movement since its inception. With a background in environmental policy and advocacy, he is a leading advocate for transitioning away from gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • Roman Partida-Lopez is the Senior Legal Counsel for Transportation Equity at the Greenlining Institute. He advocates for legislative and regulatory laws that improve access, affordability and lasting socio-economic and environmental benefits for low-income communities of color.
  • Molly Freed is a Senior Associate at RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute). She supports state efforts towards economy-wide decarbonization by identifying policy gaps and implementing solutions within the building, transportation, industry, and energy sectors.

Key Webinar Takeaways:

  • Superusers, who make up only a small percentage of the population, account for a significant portion of gasoline consumption in the US.
  • Helping superusers, especially those in lower and middle-income brackets, switch to EVs can have an outsized impact on reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, while putting money back in the pockets of the people suffering the biggest financial burdens from gasoline costs..
  • Policies and incentives should be implemented to encourage superusers to switch to electric vehicles (EVs) and provide support for charging infrastructure.

Additional resources from the webinar:

 

Cutting Vehicle Emissions Faster and More Equitably - Webinar Overview

The US is facing a serious challenge in reducing gasoline consumption and cutting vehicle emissions and tailpipe pollution. While scientists and the Biden Administration have called for a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, current forecasts only predict a 10% reduction in gasoline use by that time. This is a problem considering that the US uses the most gasoline of any country by far – three times more gasoline than China.

To address this issue requires a detailed understanding of gasoline consumption. Data gathered on billions of trips and hundreds of millions of vehicles and drivers has revealed that the top 10% of light-duty vehicle drivers, known as gasoline superusers, account for 35% of all gasoline consumption. Switching these superusers to electric vehicles (EVs) can reduce gasoline use much faster than if other drivers who don’t use near as much gasoline switch to EVs.

Gasoline Superusers: Who Are They?

Superusers are predominantly found in rural and small-town America, with more than half of them residing in these areas. They often face long commutes and spend a significant portion of their income on gasoline. In fact, superusers in the lowest income bracket spend an average of 41% of their income on gasoline.

Many superusers drive sedans and compact utility vehicles, which are categories that offer many new and used EV options. By focusing on helping lower and middle-income superusers switch to EVs, we can maximize the impact of EVs on reducing gasoline consumption and provide financial relief to those most burdened by gasoline costs.

Policy Recommendations for Gasoline Superusers

To encourage the transition of superusers to EVs, several policy recommendations can be implemented:

  1. Set gasoline reduction as a key goal and metric for governments to ensure accountability.
  2. Steer EV incentives towards superusers, especially those in lower and middle-income brackets.
  3. Focus EV outreach and education efforts on superusers, particularly those with the greatest need.
  4. Authorize utilities to offer EV incentives to superusers, as it benefits both the environment and their electricity sales.

These recommendations aim to maximize the impact of EV policy, provide financial relief to superusers, and accelerate the transition to cleaner transportation.

Gasoline Superuser Policy in California: AB 2401

In California, efforts are being made to embed superuser targeting into existing programs and incentives. AB 2401, co-sponsored by Coltura, the Greenlining Institute and others, aims to modernize the existing Clean Cars for All program. This program focuses on retiring high-polluting vehicles and replacing them with cleaner alternatives.

AB 2401 seeks to increase ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) incentives for low-income, high-mileage drivers with older, high-polluting vehicles. It also emphasizes the collection of vehicle data to enable targeted outreach and education efforts. By prioritizing funding for those who need it most, this bill aims to support low-income households in the transition to EVs.

The Role of Data and AI in EV Adoption

Data and AI play a crucial role in identifying and targeting superusers for EV adoption. By aligning stakeholders and guiding automakers and dealerships in targeting the most ready-to-switch superusers, data and AI can maximize the impact of EV messaging. They can also support new financial models, streamline the EV purchase experience, and guide the deployment of charging infrastructure.

Implications for the Future

The transition to EVs and the targeting of superusers have significant implications for reducing gasoline consumption and emissions. The financial savings from switching to EVs can provide relief to those burdened by gasoline costs, while also contributing to the overall reduction in carbon emissions.

Efforts are already underway in California, Washington, Michigan, Maryland, and Vermont, to implement superuser policies and incentives. These initiatives aim to accelerate the adoption of EVs and support the transition to a cleaner transportation system.

Conclusion

The data on superusers, the high share of income they spend on gasoline, and their ability to cut gasoline consumption faster highlight the need for targeted policies and incentives. Focusing on switching lower and middle-income superusers to EVs is key to maximizing the impact of EVs on reducing emissions and providing financial relief to those most burdened by gasoline costs.

Efforts are already underway in several states to implement superuser policies and incentives, with California considering AB 2401 to modernize existing programs. The role of data and AI in identifying and targeting superusers is crucial for achieving the desired impact and accelerating the transition to cleaner transportation.

By prioritizing the needs of superusers and providing support for EV adoption, it is possible to cut vehicle emissions faster and more equitably, contributing to a more sustainable future.

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Cutting Vehicle Emissions Faster and More Equitably
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