According to a recent analysis by California state air quality regulators, ridesharing generates more carbon emissions than driving yourself. To combat the problem, the California Air Resources Board is developing the world’s first regulations to reduce the climate impacts of ride-hailing.
It’s estimated there are more than 600,000 ride-hail vehicles in the state, which release 50% more greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile traveled than the average car. The new regulations will be put in place to reduce traffic and pollution caused by the ridesharing industry.
The increase in pollution comes from deadheading, which is when rideshare drivers are traveling to pick up passengers or cruising the streets while waiting for a ride request to come in. It’s estimated that 40% of the miles logged by Uber and Lyft drivers in California are from deadheading. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, that means for a rideshare driver the average one-mile trip adds another 0.7 miles of driving around to complete the trip.
The Union of Concerned Scientists figures show an even grimmer outlook on ride-hailing greenhouse gas emission that what air quality regulators found. According to their study, a typical rideshare trip is about 70% more polluting than the average trip is replaces. This has to do with the fact that riders aren’t only taking Uber or Lyft trips instead of their vehicles, they’re taking them when they would have used lower-carbon options like walking, public transit, or biking.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new issue. While Senate Bill 1014 was passed in 2018 and required California regulators to impose rules to reduce the ridesharing industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning fleets to 100% zero-emissions vehicles by 2029, that language was removed. That means state regulators are now responsible for formulating the targets and reducing emission rates.
The Air Resources Board is planning to present their research and opinions to the 16-member panel toward the end of this year. Parts of their plan involve imposing increasingly stringent pollution standards and encouraging integration with public transit and increasing the use of pooled rides. Environmental groups across the state are urging the Air Resource Board to set a goal of cutting greenhouse gases 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
If you have questions about laws or regulations affecting the rideshare industry in your state, get in touch with the Rideshare Law Group. In addition to helping accident victims recover compensation for their injuries, we make sure to stay up-to-date on all relevant news and laws that could impact future cases.