California has become the first state in the US to regulate the greenhouse gas produced by the surge in popularity of ridesharing. California Governor Brown signed SB 1014, a bill requiring transportation network companies (TNCs) to account for, and reduce, the greenhouse gas emissions of their operations.
The explosive growth of ride-hailing companies has left states facing a growing list of unintended consequences caused by on-demand transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft.
SB 1014, sponsored by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), requires state regulators to quantify emissions from ridesharing vehicles and to set emission targets for TNCs, while requiring companies to develop plans to reduce those emissions.
Specifically, the new law requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in consultation with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and California Energy Commission (CEC), to establish the California Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program (CCMSIP) to increase the use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by ride-hailing companies, including transportation network companies (TNCs).
The ARB must establish a per-passenger, per-mile GHG emission baseline for TNC vehicles by 1 January 2020. The bill specifies requirements for calculating the baseline, including the TNC data that must be included in calculations.
By 2021, the ARB must adopt targets and goals to reduce TNC vehicles’ GHG emissions below the baseline by 2023. These targets and goals must be feasible and consistent with existing state ZEV deployment goals, and they must include annual goals for increasing the use of ZEVs in TNC travel.
The premise that by prioritizing trips made in zero-emission vehicles, ridesharing companies can help popularize clean transportation, and help California meet its goal of putting 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.
Studies have shown that ride-hailing services have grown at the expense of public transit use and walking and biking. In San Francisco, it’s estimated that TNC companies produce the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 100,000 households produce in a year.
In California, transportation emissions—the largest source of emissions in the state—have hit their highest level in ten years.
A new national study by Schaller Consulting found that in nine major metro areas, TNCs have added 5.7 billion miles of driving annually.