Transportation CO2 Surpasses Power Sector CO2: Good News or Bad?

Last week, DOE announced that transportation sector CO2 emissions in the US exceeded power sector CO2 emissions for the first time since 1978.  co2-sources-since-1973Why?  The combination of increasing vehicle miles traveled in the transportation sector and the decreasing use of coal in the power sector is certainly most of the answer.

The real question is whether this is good news or bad news.

On the bright side, unless the apocalypse arrives next Tuesday and we enter an era of “dig, baby, dig”, it’s hard to see an increase in coal-fired generation in the power sector.  On the darker side, the troubling part of the transportation equation is that, short of taxing people based on miles driven – makes sense to me! – it’s difficult to control transportation sector emissions.

I think that the answer to this question really depends on how quickly one thinks that electric vehicles will move from a small niche to the core of our vehicle fleet.

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