A new study published by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates ride-hailing trips result in 69% more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace. Questions are now rising regarding what can be done to reduce that percentage.
In urban areas, ridesharing trips are taken more often than low-carbon trips like public transportation, biking, or walking. This is likely because rideshare services are more convenient and less expensive than other, less-polluting transportation options. The study recommends Uber and Lyft reduce emissions by putting a focus on electric vehicles and incentivizing riders to take pooled rides.
Overall, it’s estimated that non-pooled ride-hailing trips are 47% more polluting than a private car ride. If rideshare companies were to implement electric vehicles and encourage pooled trips, emissions could be cut by 68% compared with a private vehicle trip in the average car, or about 79% compared with a non-pooled Uber or Lyft ride.
Uber and Lyft both responded to the study. According to Uber, “We want Uber to be a part of the solution to address climate change by working with cities to help create a low carbon transportation future. To unlock the opportunities we have to reduce emissions, we will continue to invest in products and advocate for policies that reduce car ownership, promote more pooled trips and support greater adoption of bikes, scooters, green vehicles and the use of public transit.”
Lyft, on the other hand, has dismissed the report as misleading: “This report, like many before it, makes misleading claims about rideshare. Lyft encourages the use of shared rides, was the first rideshare company to put public transit information into our app, and last year, made one of the largest single deployments of electric vehicles in the nation. We are eager to continue this work in partnership with cities, to advance shared, sustainable transportation.”
While Uber and Lyft have shown a willingness to reduce their carbon footprint by introducing bike- and scooter-sharing services, integrating public transportation scheduling into their apps, and starting incentive programs for when drivers switch to electric cars, the majority of trips that take place through both platforms still happen in gas-powered vehicles.
At the Rideshare Law Group, we handle cases involving people who have been wrongfully injured by a rideshare driver or company. Learn more about our services by contacting us today.