The transportation sector represents about 33% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. Of that share, 21% comes from medium and heavy vehicles, including school buses.   -  Image: Canva/Biden-Harris Administration

The transportation sector represents about 33% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. Of that share, 21% comes from medium and heavy vehicles, including school buses. 

Image: Canva/Biden-Harris Administration

The Biden-Harris Administration wants 30% of new vehicle sales, including school bus fleets, by 2030 to be zero-emission and 100% by 2040, aiming for a net-zero economy by 2050.

The plan is set out in the newly released U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, which builds on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. The blueprint was developed by the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Building the Plan

It comes in the wake of a September 2022 memorandum of understanding that pushed for aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), calling on the transportation sector to “play a leading role in achieving our climate, economic, and equity goals, which requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach across all modes of passenger and freight transportation, as well as the associated infrastructure and energy supply.”

“The domestic transportation sector presents an enormous opportunity to drastically reduce emissions that accelerate climate change and reduce harmful pollution,” said Jennifer Granholm, secretary of energy. “DOE is prepared to implement this blueprint alongside our partners within the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure all Americans feel the benefits of the clean transportation transition: good-paying manufacturing jobs, better air quality, and lower transportation costs.”

The transportation sector accounts for about a third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions, affecting health outcomes. Buses and medium- and heavy-duty trucks produce 21% of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, second only to light-duty vehicles.

Setting the Goals

“Achieving a net-zero economy by 2050 will require major transformations across all sectors and effective integration between them,” the blueprint report states.

The strategy calls for converting older fossil fuel-powered vehicles to:

  • Battery electric.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell.
  • Sustainable fuels for vehicles that are harder to electrify.

Said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg: “Transportation policy is inseparable from housing and energy policy, and transportation accounts for a major share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so we must work together in an integrated way to confront the climate crisis. Every decision about transportation is also an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future. When our air is cleaner; when more people can get good-paying jobs; when everyone stays connected to the resources they need and the people they love, we are all better off.”

The next step in the process is to develop more detailed sector-specific action plans, according to the administration.

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