By Mel Barnard
Fewer than 1% of cars currently on the road are electric. However, even with automakers building and selling more electric vehicles, by 2035, only 13% of vehicles are predicted to be electric. Without policy changes, most vehicles will likely run on gasoline even during the midpoint of the century.
To be carbon neutral by 2050, drastic action is needed to turn over and retire the fleet of gas-powered vehicles already on the market. For example, one policy might include buying back and scrapping older cars in use. Policymakers could also focus on electrifying ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft which tend to retire automobiles sooner, or offer rebates to turn in older cars for newer, more fuel-efficient models. Still, these trade-in programs have historically been proven to be less efficient than something like a carbon tax.
One of the best opportunities for change is in improving public infrastructure. Expanding public transit and encouraging biking and walking, particularly in cities, seems to be an excellent, nonpartisan way of decreasing carbon emissions.