Michigan put the automobile on the map, and now we have a chance to lead it into the future.
Transportation contributes 1/3 of all climate pollution in Michigan and pollution that impacts our health, with 95 percent of cars and trucks in the U.S. running on petroleum.
To meet the goals our state has committed to as part of the US Climate Alliance and the Governors Climate EO, and to improve the health and quality of life of all Michiganders, we need to transition our transportation sector to electric vehicles, and increase non-motorized and public transportation options.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) and infrastructure - For Michigan to be carbon neutral by 2050, all new vehicles on the market must be electric by 2035, and we need to have the charging infrastructure in place across the state to support this. Fortunately, electric and hybrid vehicles have been on our roads for more than a decade, and recent improvements in battery technology has helped bring EVs that are more affordable and able to travel long distances between charges. This rise in EVs has led some industry analysts to predict that the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered, perhaps by 2025, and that electric vehicle growth could be very disruptive to gasoline demand by 2031. We need policies to incentivize and encourage people to purchase EVs, and to support the buildout of EV charging infrastructure. Building upon our leadership in the auto industry, Michigan has the opportunity to lead the transition to electric vehicles, creating many good jobs along the way.
Public transit and non-motorized transportation, like walking and biking, are critical to curbing climate pollution and improving health. Often urban centers are denser and amenities are closer together, leading to more walkable and bike-able communities. Public transit continues to grow in the U.S., with transit ridership rising more than 37 percent in the past 20 years, and is a $57 billion industry that employs more than 400,000 people nationwide. But reliable public transportation options remains out of reach for far too many Michiganders, even those who live in urban areas that should have options. We support investing in public transportation and infrastructure like bike lanes and sidewalks to provide Michiganders more non-motorized and shared transportation options.
Improving fuel efficiency is also critical to reducing our carbon emissions while we transition to EVs. In 2012, the U.S. government and auto industry agreed to double the fuel efficiency standard for cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 but then the Trump administration rolled back these standards. We call on the Biden administration and Michigan car companies to follow through on the U.S. commitment to make cleaner, more efficient vehicles.