Study shows steady decline in emissions driven by increase in California EV adoption.

A new study from the University of California (UC) Berkeley has revealed a gradual decline in carbon dioxide emissions with increased electric vehicle (EV) adoption over the past few years. The study, led by Ronald Cohen, Executive Associate Dean at Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science and Society, found that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by an average of 1.8 percent annually. The researchers noted that the highest levels of carbon dioxide were observed near highway corridors. While the 1.8 percent decrease may seem modest, Cohen emphasized that a 3.5 percent annual reduction would be sufficient to reach California’s 2045 carbon neutrality target.

The study used sensors to gather data and also examined registration data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to monitor the ratio of EVs to gasoline cars on the road. The findings remained consistent even when accounting for factors such as reduced motor vehicle traffic during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal variations. The researchers attributed the decrease in emissions to the increase in hybrid and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) use, as fuel-efficiency standards tighten. Cohen highlighted the transportation sector, wintertime heating, and heavy industry such as oil refineries as the primary sources of carbon dioxide emissions.

The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of clean transportation policies in reducing emissions to guide climate policy decisions. While the sensors also monitored other pollutants, such as particulates and nitrogen oxide, this specific study focused solely on measuring carbon dioxide emissions. In conclusion, the study’s findings demonstrate the positive impact of increased EV adoption on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, highlighting the potential for clean transportation policies to make a significant difference in addressing climate change.

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