In a first, the US government unveils a plan to decarbonize all transport

The US departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency today released a plan that lays out how they’re going to decarbonize all US transport.

The four agencies have together created the “US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization: A Joint Strategy to Transform Transportation.” It’s a first-of-its-kind strategy for federal leadership and partnerships to decarbonize the entire US transportation sector.

The Blueprint is summarized at the beginning of the report as such:

This Blueprint offers a whole-of-government approach to transform the transportation sector and sets forth an interagency call to action to coordinate and work effectively together.

Achieving the goal is going to take a herculean amount of coordination:

Implementing a holistic decarbonization strategy will require coordinated actions from federal, state, local, regional, and Tribal governments; nonprofit and philanthropic organizations; and private industries.

In other words, everyone.

The Blueprint is built around a three-pronged strategy:

  • Increase convenience. Community design at the local and regional level so that work and the amenities people need are located near where they live.
  • Improve efficiency. Expand options like public transport and rail, and improve efficiency of all vehicles.
  • Transition to clean options. Deploy zero-emission vehicles and fuels. This is the key strategy that will drive the most emissions reductions. The following chart from the Blueprint lays out this part:

Light-duty vehicles create the lion’s share – 49% – of emissions. And transport created 33% of 2019 US greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why there’s a huge focus on transportation.

Electrek’s Take

This is almost so common sense and obvious that it’s hard to get one’s head wrapped around it, yet it’s an absolutely enormous and impactful undertaking.

Basically, all sectors of society will have to coordinate and collaborate. Net zero vehicles will replace fossil fuel vehicles. And in order to do that, there needs to be a government plan with clear benchmarks.

This is the plan. And those benchmarks are in there.

Top comment by Johnny Vector

Liked by 17 people

Sure would be nice if they included bikes and e-bikes as a mode. US cities are finally starting to think about considering maybe becoming just the tiniest bit less car-dominated, so this seems like an ideal way of pushing that along.

View all comments

It’s great to see the debut of this Blueprint. And since I’m not a cynic about what government can achieve when it’s working the way it should, I feel hopeful. This is what was needed. The hard work continues.

Read more: Pete Buttigieg wants to put ‘millions’ of electric cars on US roads

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.