Washington, D.C. — A prominent national transportation commission including Jack Gillis, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of America, released a new report today and launched a campaign to cut U.S. transportation energy use by 50 percent by 2050 (dubbed the “50×50” goal) while also improving mobility.
Amid rapidly evolving transportation trends like ride-sharing, electrification, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies, the Alliance to Save Energy’s 50×50 Commission on U.S. Transportation Sector Efficiency issued consensus recommendations calling on policymakers – at all levels of government – to act urgently in a coordinated manner to lead a successful energy efficiency transformation of the transportation sector.
“Because buying gasoline directly, and in-directly in the cost of goods, is one of the largest expenses incurred by consumers, reducing energy usage by 50% by 2050 will dramatically improve the financial well-being of American households. The tremendous savings resulting from 50 by 50 will fill consumer pocketbooks, help keep American automakers competitive and improve the nation’s economy—a win-win-win for consumers, the auto industry and America. The Consumer Federation of America has and will continue to fight for a more efficient vehicle fleet to save consumers their hard-earned money,” said Gillis.
The 50×50 Commission is a diverse coalition of leading vehicle manufacturers, utilities, environmental and consumer groups, unions, technology companies, and public officials, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto (D) and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price (R). The group says the U.S. could fall behind foreign competitors if federal, state, and local policymakers don’t act to adopt the policy recommendations.
Transportation represents roughly one-third of U.S. energy consumption and recently displaced electricity generation as the leading source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also the second biggest daily expense for American families. Demand for transportation services is set to rise significantly in the future, potentially increasing congestion on U.S. roads, and putting more stress on the already overburdened public transportation systems. But these challenges can be overcome. The 50×50 Commission united to develop a policy agenda that seizes the opportunities of new transportation technologies and business models to transform mobility for passengers and goods while using energy more efficiently.
“Right now, we have the chance to shape the future for the better, achieving multiple goals at once. We can simultaneously unlock innovation and new technologies and make mobility easier, faster, and better, all while using dramatically less energy,” said Jason Hartke, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, which convened the Commission. “Charting the right path now will help us avoid unpredictable fuel costs, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and lost American competitiveness. These policy recommendations set the course to make transportation more accessible and convenient for all while cutting our energy use dramatically.”
The Commission’s report, released at a forum in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning, provides recommendations to policymakers focused on three themes, including:
Transform. Policymakers should not only seek to enhance the energy efficiency of vehicles and components, but also to capitalize on new technologies to transition to an efficient, integrated, and improved “transportation services” model. Transportation services should be allocated efficiently, affordably, and effectively according to geographic and service needs, with policies encouraging consumers to select the most efficient transportation modes.
Innovate. The U.S. should prioritize its leadership in pursuing research, development, deployment, and demonstration for efficient transportation innovation opportunities. Congress and federal agencies should continue to support the development of electric vehicles, which are currently the most efficient vehicles on the market. Federal agencies should maximize their impact through measures including public-private partnerships that stimulate research into market-transformational technologies.
Invest. Policymakers should focus on improving the efficiency of all vehicle types by promoting fuel economy standards and accelerating vehicle turnover and incentivizing the deployment of and infrastructure for energy-efficient vehicles, especially electric vehicles (battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen electric vehicles), plug-in and non-plug in hybrid vehicles, and highly efficient vehicles running on renewable natural gas. Policymakers should support electric vehicles, which are highly efficient, through standardization of adaptors and customer experience, the promotion of practices to ensure optimal grid stability, and the redesign of the Highway Trust Fund to ensure the growth of efficient vehicles is balanced with equitably-funded infrastructure investments. Such solutions should take equity and jobs into account by ensuring low-income and under-served consumers have access to improved mobility and ensuring a well-prepared workforce through the sector’s transitions.
The 50×50 Commission includes Scott Keogh, President Audi of America (co-chair); Dean Seavers, President, National Grid, US (co-chair); Melissa E. Adams, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, WGL Holdings/Washington Gas; John Di Stasio, President, Large Public Power Council; Bruce Edelston, VP, Energy Policy, Southern Company; Matt Enstice, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; Jack Gillis, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America; Thomas R. Kuhn, President, Edison Electric Institute; Eric J. McCarthy, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Public Policy and Legal Affairs, Proterra; Arlen Orchard, CEO & GM, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Giovanni Palazzo, CEO, Electrify America; Thomas S. Passek, President, Copper Development Association; William Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh; Betsy Price, Mayor, Fort Worth; Gil C. Quiniones, President & CEO, New York Power Authority; Norman Saari, Commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission; Kevin B. Self, SVP of Strategy, Business Develop & Government Relations, Schneider Electric; Paul Skoutelas, President & CEO, American Public Transportation Association; Lonnie Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Dan Turton, VP, North America Public Policy, General Motors; Bert Van Hoof, Partner – Group Program Manager, Microsoft; Ted Walker, Managing Director, Navigant; and Greg White, Executive Director, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
The Commission’s recommendations were informed by the work of more than 100 experts from across the country serving on technical committees. The committees issued five “sector baseline” reports evaluating a wide range of transportation sectors and technologies. The technical committees were chaired by Robert Chapman, Vice President, Energy and Environment, Electric Power Research Institute; Robert Horton, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, DFW International Airport; Roy Kuga, Vice President, Grid Integration & Innovation, PG&E Corporation; Dr. Philip Lavrich, Director, Strategy and Advanced Technologies, Ingersoll Rand; and Patricia Monahan, Program Director, Transportation, Energy Foundation.
The 50×50 Commission’s full report and biographical information for all Commissioners is available at www.50x50transportation.org. Quotes from Commissioners and Technical Committee Chairs are included below, followed by press contacts for all Commission organizations.
About the Alliance to Save Energy
Founded in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders working to expand the economy while using less energy. Our mission is to promote energy productivity worldwide – including through energy efficiency – to achieve a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security, affordability and reliability.
Comments from Commission Members
“We have a once-in-a-century chance to responsibly rethink mobility,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America, and 50×50 Commission co-chair. “The rapidly advancing technologies of electrification, automation and connectivity will not magically produce the best results. It’s only together—industry leaders, policymakers and consumers—that we can build a pathway to a future with the most potential.”
“National Grid remains committed to reducing emissions in the transportation sector. We have long recognized the important role electrification will play in the Northeast’s clean energy transition and its carbon emissions reduction efforts,” said Dean Seavers, president of National Grid, US, and 50×50 Commission co-chair. “Building new and unique partnerships to promote the adoption of more efficient vehicles will be critical to this effort and our customers will be the ultimate drivers of the shift to a clean energy future. National Grid is dedicated to working collaboratively with all parties to ensure the tools and infrastructure are in place to enable that change.”
“Southern Company is proud to support the 50×50 Commission with a goal to save energy in the U.S. transportation sector by 50 percent by the year 2050,” said Bruce Edelston, vice president of energy policy at Southern Company. “We have been committed to the research, development and marketing of electric transportation since the early 1990s because on-road and non-road electric vehicles and equipment are clean, efficient, economical, quiet, create U.S. jobs, and contribute to energy independence. We have also been a strong proponent of natural gas as a transportation fuel in cases where that adds to efficiency.”
“The convergence of the electric utility and transportation sectors presents a great opportunity for economic development and environmental stewardship in communities across the nation. The Large Public Power Council, on behalf of our twenty utility members, stands ready to support this important effort and the wide scale electrification of the transportation sector,” said John Di Stasio, president, Large Public Power Council.
“As the U.S. transportation system continues to evolve, it is critical that we develop an integrated, leading-edge approach connecting technology, urban planning, and optimization,” said Matthew K. Enstice, CEO, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. “Our goal is to improve broad community access to an equitable and sustainable transportation system, with an eye on reducing energy use and meeting future mobility needs. From supporting infrastructure and technology to increase electric vehicle use and piloting autonomous vehicles to integrating artificial intelligence and improving streetscape design, we are building the system of the future.”
“Because buying gasoline directly, and in-directly in the cost of goods, is one of the largest expenses incurred by consumers, reducing energy usage by 50% by 2050 will dramatically improve the financial well-being of American households. The tremendous savings resulting from 50 by 50 will fill consumer pocketbooks, help keep American automakers competitive and improve the nation’s economy—a win-win-win for consumers, the auto industry and America. The Consumer Federation of America has and will continue to fight for a more efficient vehicle fleet to save consumers their hard-earned money,” said Jack Gillis, executive director, Consumer Federation of America.
“EEI congratulates the Alliance on taking action to help make transportation more energy efficient through its 50×50 Commission,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Electrifying transportation offers increased efficiency, improved sustainability, economic growth, and energy security. As demand for EVs continues to grow, America’s electric companies are leading efforts to advance the electrification of the transportation sector through infrastructure deployment, partnerships, and consumer education. More than $1 billion of electric company investments in transportation electrification already have been approved.”
“The Alliance to Save Energy’s Commission has demonstrated its industry leadership by introducing bold initiatives, encouraging collaboration with industry experts, and driving forward policy to further create a sustainable transportation system within the U.S.,” said Eric McCarthy, SVP, government relations, public policy and legal affairs, Proterra. “With the implementation of smart all-electric procurement, and integrating our recommendations for universal charging standards and fuel tax credits, we see a major opportunity for improving energy efficiency at scale in electrifying transportation at the heavy-duty vehicle level.”
“As the CEO of a community-owned electric utility supporting electric transportation for decades, I applaud the 50×50 Commission’s final report which provides a roadmap to a cleaner, more sustainable transportation future,” said SMUD CEO Arlen Orchard. “SMUD’s and California’s ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency in transportation will benefit greatly from this national effort. I’m especially pleased there’s significant focus on transportation access supporting disadvantaged communities. I can personally vouch for the expertise and passion my fellow commissioners brought in producing a thorough report that helps us seize this transformational moment in the convergence of energy and transportation.”
“Electrify America believes growing zero emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption in the U.S. requires tremendous private sector investment and strong public policy. Through our $2 billion investment commitment in ZEV infrastructure and awareness building, we are putting forward the private sector investment necessary. And through the work of this Commission, we now have a policy roadmap to help spread the benefits of electric driving, leading to enhanced energy efficiency throughout the mobility space in the years to come,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer, Electrify America, LLC.
“The Copper Development Association is a proud member of the 50×50 Commission because copper is helping to drive sustainable and efficient transportation systems of the future,” said CDA President Thomas S. Passek. “From motors, inverters, batteries, wiring and charging infrastructure, copper is an integral component of clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles. CDA remains dedicated to partnerships aimed at mobilizing energy innovation in North America.”
“It’s going to take a lot of work to dramatically reduce transportation energy use, but with the private and public sectors working side-by-side through the 50×50 Commission, we’re going to make it happen,” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said.
“State utility regulators are working on EV issues because of the potential impact on the electric grid, Time of Use electric rates for EV charging, and infrastructure issues impacting where chargers will be located. As a state regulator we are working with regulated electric utilities and other interested stakeholders to evaluate programs and proposals that will impact the future of electrified transportation,” said Norm Saari, commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission.
“With transportation responsible for 30% of energy consumption in the United States, the 50×50 Commission’s recommendations serve as a route map to guide this transformation of the transportation sector. Increased public transportation is pivotal to meeting the goal of reducing our energy use by 2050, and we look forward to working with policymakers at every level of government to turn these recommendations into action,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, president and CEO, American Public Transportation Association.
“Promoting energy efficiency in the transportation sector is vital to the future of every sector of our economy, because the more we can save on energy costs, the more we have to invest in good jobs and modern infrastructure. As the largest union of electrical workers in the nation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is proud to join with elected officials and business, utility, and policy leaders on the 50×50 Commission in developing a path forward to maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste,” said Lonnie R. Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
“Transportation represents our biggest source of carbon emissions, and now, more than ever, it’s important that this group has come to together with the common purpose to make our transportation options cleaner and greener,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Automakers and utility executives, mayors and environmental advocates, we all recognize that cars and trucks need to get more efficient and our transport options grow. We must act now to spur Americans’ ingenuity for clean mobility.”
“At General Motors, our vision of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion addresses the challenges associated with the freedom of mobility. This bold, ambitious vision has the potential to save 1.25 million lives annually by eliminating human error, the root of most crashes; eliminate over 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide; and give commuters back the time they spend in traffic. Autonomous, electric, shared and connected vehicles will fuel this transformation. Combined, they will provide customers with safer, better and more sustainable vehicles,” said Dan Turton, VP of North America Public Policy for General Motors.
“Technology is at the core of every transformation, and is particularly central to reimagining mobility and transportation. Yet we are impatient with the current pace of progress, given the catalytic nature of technology to rapidly transform this sector to achieve greater energy efficiency. That is why Microsoft is partnering closely with organizations across the transportation and energy sectors, to enable and accelerate their progress towards a safe, clean and efficient future. Microsoft regards the 50×50 Commission’s recommendations as a compelling framework from which to spur innovation, address key societal issues, and embrace opportunity,” said Bert Van Hoof, partner group program manager, Microsoft.
“In line with the Commission’s aggressive 50 x 50 goals, the New York Power Authority is prioritizing its efforts to build a more sustainable and efficient transportation system. Rapid electrification of this sector is key for New York State to lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To accelerate GHG reductions, NYPA is developing a robust charging infrastructure that will help make driving an EV the reasonable and affordable choice. NYPA’s new EVolve NY initiative supports the adoption of electric vehicles by investing $40 million into expanding fast charging infrastructure along key corridors, creating New York City airport charging hubs, and establishing EV model communities,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president & CEO of NYPA and chairman of the Alliance to Save Energy.
50×50 Commission Technical Committee Chairs:
“EPRI is pleased to contribute to the 50×50 Commission’s efforts to optimize transportation efficiency,” said Rob Chapman, vice president of Energy & Environment at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). “Efficient transportation will lead to improved personal health, and will benefit the environment and our economy.”
“For nearly 45 years, DFW Airport has been a shining example of what happens when communities work collaboratively to solve regional transportation challenges. The important work by the Alliance 50×50 Commission will help make transportation more affordable, efficient, safe, and accessible by coordinating the movement of people and freight, while optimizing energy productivity,” said Robert Horton, vice president of environmental affairs for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
“PG&E is working to help our customers understand, embrace, and adopt clean transportation technologies. The 50×50 Commission highlights important priorities such as aligning supportive policies and incentives, advancing investments in enabling infrastructure, ensuring equitable access for all, and fostering technological innovation. These priorities help us be on the pathway to achieve the 50×50 Commission goals, as well as California’s climate goals,” said Roy Kuga, vice president, grid integration and innovation, Pacific Gas and Electric.
“We are on the cusp of a clean transportation shift in the U.S. that has the potential to increase mobility, make the air cleaner for everyone, and keep the U.S. auto industry globally competitive,” said Patricia Monahan, program director, transportation, Energy Foundation. “Momentum for zero emission transit systems and vehicles has never been greater. This report is a blueprint for accelerating the transition to a clean transportation system that will increase access for all Americans and help cities thrive.”
Commission Member Press Contacts:
American Public Transportation Association: Rosemary Sheridan, RSheridan@apta.com, 202.496.4826
Audi of America: Ellen Carey, Ellen.Carey@audi.com, 703.364.7440
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus: Kari Bonaro, email@example.com, 716.218.7157
Consumer Federation of America: Jack Gillis, Jack@ConsumerFed.org, 202.939.1013
Copper Development Association: Molly Brantley, MBrantley@kellencompany.com, 212-297-2132
DFW International Airport: Megan Dobbertien, firstname.lastname@example.org
Electric Power Research Institute: Clay Perry, email@example.com, 202.293.6184
Electrify America: Mike Moran, Mike.Moran@electrifyamerica.com, 703.872.7936
Edison Electric Institute: Kristin Rudman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.508.5155
Energy Foundation: Jessica Lass, email@example.com, 415-561-6703
General Motors: Dayna Hart, firstname.lastname@example.org, 313.400.8130
Ingersoll Rand: Paige Muhlenkamp, email@example.com, 704.990.3282
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: Alex Hogan, Alexander_Hogan@IBEW.org, 202.728.6271
Large Public Power Council: Liz Roche, liz.roche@Storypartnersdc.com, 202.706.7816
Michigan Public Service Commission: Nick Assendelft, AssendelftN@michigan.gov, 517.284.8300
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners: Regina Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.898.9382
National Grid: Molly Gilson, Molly.Gilson@nationalgrid.com, 781-249-7706
Natural Resources Defense Council, email@example.com, 202.289.2436
New York Power Authority: Lynne Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914.681.6916
Pacific Gas and Electric: James Noonan, JJNB@pge.com, 916.386.5715
William Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh: Tim McNulty, email@example.com, 412.660.1999
Proterra: Evelyne McCleland, EMcCleland@Proterra.com
Schneider Electric: Dave Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 978.502.9607
SMUD: Lindsay Vanlaningham, Lindsay.Vanlaningham@smud.org, 916.732.6251
Southern Company: Todd, Terrell, TATERREL@southernco.com, 404.506.0267
WGL Holdings / Washington Gas: Melissa Adams, MelissaAdams@washgas.com