California's clean air regulator adopted rules that 90% of all trips on Uber and Lyft ride-hailing platforms have to be in electric vehicles (EV) by 2030. This step is the first of its kind by the US state.
The US is gradually moving towards carbon neutrality and the transition to electric vehicles is a very significant step. Since the Uber and Lyft car fleet account for a significant part of the emissions, it was decided to gradually switch them to electric power. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Thursday passed a regulation requiring these platforms to use EVs, which must account for 90% of ride-hailing vehicle miles traveled by 2030, Reuters reported. The companies themselves previously planned to transfer their fleet of cars in the United States to EVs by 2021, although they could not achieve this goal.
In written comments to the agency ahead of the vote, Uber and Lyft said they support the regulatory goals but called on the government to significantly help their drivers cover the transition costs. The companies said CARB's goals were based on vague and unrealistic assumptions and that this could harm drivers. However, as companies receive income but continue to pollute the environment, they should be the most helpful to their drivers in this transition.
"There is no way for us to make sure that the (companies) actually bear the costs to address the greenhouse gases and air pollution they're creating and profiting off," said board member Nathan Fletcher.
The question of who will finance the costly transition is complicated by the drivers' status as independent contractors and not company employees. This is why regulators have little ability to protect them.
Steve Douglas, vice president at auto industry group Alliance for Automotive Innovation, urged CARB to expand EV rules to the taxi industry and other public and private fleets. "The simple truth is sales require purchases and sales requirements should be matched to purchase requirements," he said during Thursday's hearing.
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