Auto, Utility, Labor & Environment Leaders Unveil Report Charting Path to Cut Transportation Energy Use in Half
WASHINGTON – A prominent national transportation commission focused on prioritizing energy efficiency opportunities released a new report today and launched a campaign to cut U.S. transportation energy use by 50 percent by 2050 (dubbed the “50x50” goal) while also improving mobility.
Amid rapidly evolving transportation trends like ride-sharing, electrification, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies, the Alliance to Save Energy’s 50x50 Commission on U.S. Transportation Sector Efficiency issued consensus recommendations calling on policymakers to act urgently in a coordinated manner to lead a successful energy efficiency transformation of the transportation sector.
The 50x50 Commission – chaired by Audi of America President Scott Keogh and National Grid U.S. President Dean Seavers – is a diverse coalition of leading vehicle manufacturers, utilities, environmental and consumer groups, unions, technology companies, and public officials, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto (D) and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price (R). The group says the U.S. could fall behind foreign competitors if federal, state, and local policymakers don’t act to adopt the policy recommendations.
“Right now, we have the chance to shape the future for the better, achieving multiple goals at once. We can simultaneously unlock innovation and new technologies and make mobility easier, faster, and better, all while using dramatically less energy,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Jason Hartke. “Charting the right path now will help us avoid unpredictable fuel costs, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and lost American competitiveness. These policy recommendations set the course to make transportation more accessible and convenient for all while cutting our energy use dramatically.”
“We have a once-in-a-century chance to responsibly rethink mobility,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “The rapidly advancing technologies of electrification, automation and connectivity will not magically produce the best results. It’s only together—industry leaders, policymakers and consumers—that we can build a pathway to a future with the most potential.”
“National Grid remains committed to reducing emissions in the transportation sector. We have long recognized the important role electrification will play in the Northeast's clean energy transition and its carbon emissions reduction efforts,” said Dean Seavers, President of National Grid, US. “Building new and unique partnerships to promote the adoption of more efficient vehicles will be critical to this effort and our customers will be the ultimate drivers of the shift to a clean energy future. National Grid is dedicated to working collaboratively with all parties to ensure the tools and infrastructure are in place to enable that change.”
Transportation represents roughly one-third of U.S. energy consumption and recently displaced electricity generation as the leading source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also the second biggest daily expense for American families. Demand for transportation services is set to rise significantly in the future, potentially increasing congestion on U.S. roads, and putting more stress on the already overburdened public transportation systems. But these challenges can be overcome. The 50x50 Commission, convened by the Alliance to Save Energy, united to develop a policy agenda that seizes the opportunities of new transportation technologies and business models to transform mobility for passengers and goods while using energy more efficiently.
The Commission’s report, released at a forum in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, provides recommendations to policymakers focused on three themes, including:
Transform. Policymakers should not only seek to enhance the energy efficiency of vehicles and components, but also to capitalize on new technologies to transition to an efficient, integrated, and improved “transportation services” model. Transportation services should be allocated efficiently, affordably, and effectively according to geographic and service needs, with policies encouraging consumers to select the most efficient transportation modes.
Innovate. The U.S. should prioritize its leadership in pursuing research, development, deployment, and demonstration for efficient transportation innovation opportunities. Congress and federal agencies should continue to support the development of electric vehicles, which are currently the most efficient vehicles on the market. Federal agencies should maximize their impact through measures including public-private partnerships that stimulate research into market-transformational technologies.
Invest. Policymakers should focus on improving the efficiency of all vehicle types by promoting fuel economy standards and accelerating vehicle turnover and incentivizing the deployment of and infrastructure for energy-efficient vehicles, especially electric vehicles (battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen electric vehicles), plug-in and non-plug in hybrid vehicles, and highly efficient vehicles running on renewable natural gas. Policymakers should support electric vehicles, which are highly efficient, through standardization of adaptors and customer experience, the promotion of practices to ensure optimal grid stability, and the redesign of the Highway Trust Fund to ensure the growth of efficient vehicles is balanced with equitably-funded infrastructure investments. Such solutions should take equity and jobs into account by ensuring low-income and under-served consumers have access to improved mobility and ensuring a well-prepared workforce through the sector’s transitions.
The 50x50 Commission includes Scott Keogh, President Audi of America (co-chair); Dean Seavers, President, National Grid, US (co-chair); Melissa E. Adams, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, WGL Holdings/Washington Gas; John Di Stasio, President, Large Public Power Council; Bruce Edelston, VP, Energy Policy, Southern Company; Matt Enstice, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; Jack Gillis, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America; Thomas R. Kuhn, President, Edison Electric Institute; Eric J. McCarthy, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Public Policy and Legal Affairs, Proterra; Arlen Orchard, CEO & GM, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Giovanni Palazzo, CEO, Electrify America; Thomas S. Passek, President, Copper Development Association; William Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh; Betsy Price, Mayor, Fort Worth; Gil C. Quiniones, President & CEO, New York Power Authority; Norman Saari, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission; Kevin B. Self, SVP of Strategy, Business Develop & Government Relations, Schneider Electric; Paul Skoutelas, President & CEO, American Public Transportation Association; Lonnie Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Dan Turton, VP, North America Public Policy, General Motors; Bert Van Hoof, Partner - Group Program Manager, Microsoft; Ted Walker, Managing Director, Navigant; and Greg White, Executive Director, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The Commission’s recommendations were informed by the work of more than 100 experts from across the country serving on technical committees. The committees issued five “sector baseline” reports evaluating a wide range of transportation sectors and technologies. The technical committees were chaired by Robert Chapman, Vice President, Energy and Environment, Electric Power Research Institute; Robert Horton, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, DFW International Airport; Roy Kuga, Vice President, Grid Integration & Innovation, PG&E Corporation; Dr. Philip Lavrich, Director, Strategy and Advanced Technologies, Ingersoll Rand; and Patricia Monahan, Program Director, Transportation, Energy Foundation.
Quotes today from Commissioners and Technical Committee Chairs are available in a quote sheet.
The 50x50 Commission’s full report and biographical information for all Commissioners is available at: www.50x50transportation.org.
About the Alliance to Save Energy
Founded in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders working to expand the economy while using less energy. Our mission is to promote energy productivity worldwide – including through energy efficiency – to achieve a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security, affordability and reliability.