With the importance of carbon emission reduction in the spotlight, you are sure to have come across several news stories or articles within the last five years. But, what does that actually mean for the US and the future of transportation and vehicles? According to the EPA, in 2016, the biggest culprit of CO2 emissions was transportation, accounting for over 28% of 2016 greenhouse emissions. Governments around the world are implementing laws and increasing incentives to encourage people to purchase more environmentally friendly vehicles. With advancements in technology and an increase in popularity, people now have access to electric vehicles with longer battery life and convenient public charging stations. If we follow the lead of other countries who have forward-thinking rules and policies, such as Norway and Netherlands, it is clear where this road will take us.
For starters, let’s take a look at some of the policies in North America. Two out of the three countries (Canada and Mexico) have begun implementing a tax on carbon; a way to encourage a transition to more environmentally friendly means of operating vehicles. Not only does it raise awareness and help the environment, it also increases the country’s tax revenue. In an article published by C2ES, a 2017 study by the US Department of Treasury, estimated “a tax of $49 per metric ton of carbon dioxide could raise about $2.2 trillion in net revenues over 10 years” for the US. Adding a carbon tax can be an effective way to dissuade people from continuously purchasing fuel guzzling vehicles. In the United States, tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles range from $2,500-$7,500 , depending on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. Even though the United States is viewed as a powerhouse in the automotive industry, Europe and China are actually are ahead in electric vehicle sales.
When you think of Europe’s involvement in the automotive industry, your mind may initially go to the U.K or Germany. In reality, Norway and the Netherlands lead the European nations in their transition to becoming fully electric and eliminating the need to import or use any fossil fuel based vehicles. Norway has had a huge influx in its electric vehicle market, having sold more electric than gas powered vehicles, making the government's plan to go “zero emission” by 2025 very likely. In a similar fashion, the Netherlands is pushing to go emission free in a few years, leading the pack in electric vehicle sales. The Netherlands waives registration fees for those purchasing electric vehicles. France, another EV friendly European country, offers a $6,500 bonus for purchasing purely electric vehicles and a $4,500 incentive for anyone bringing their diesel-powered vehicle to be scrapped. On top of these incentives, they are doubling down and aim to have 100,000 public charging stations by the year 2020. Lastly, one of the global giants of the automotive industry, the U.K, has been going all in on electric vehicles over the past few years. The U.K plans on spending $530 million in funding for companies that install charging points, helping them further establish a solid electric-car infrastructure. These policies have led to a huge upswing in EV sales as Europe doesn’t want to be left behind.
We’ve looked at North America and Europe, but the country leading the world in the shift to electric vehicles is China. China is producing more electric vehicles than every other country in the world combined! As one of the most highly polluted countries in the world, China is looking to electric vehicles as a necessity in combating this problem. A $17,000 subsidy for each vehicle purchased seems to do the trick, convincing people to buy electric. Not only are they selling electric vehicles at an impressive rate, they also make up about 35% of the world’s electric vehicle production. As China continues to climb the electric vehicle ladder, other countries around the world are sure to follow.
With a shift to electric vehicles well under way and generous government incentives being offered, fossil fuel based vehicles will likely be phased out over the course of the next 10 years. A few European nations have already vowed to be “zero emissions” in the next decade and it is only a matter of time before others follow suit. We predict that by the year 2025 every household in America will have at least one electric vehicle and by the year 2040 you will need a special license to drive a non-autonomous vehicle.
Check out the rest of this series to find out how your shop will be affected by this new wave of vehicles.