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Electric vehicles cutting carbon footprint in Bay Area, new study says

A new study appears to show the Bay Area’s decision to embrace electric vehicles is having an impact by measurably cutting the area’s carbon emissions.

“We were looking for ways to measure the change in CO2 as we try and make those reductions from all different sources,” said Ronald Cohen, professor of atmospheric science at UC Berkeley.

Cohen and other researchers recently did a study to try and figure out if the Bay Area’s high EV rate was making an environmental difference.

“We observed that the total emissions of CO2 over a five-year period from 2018 to 2022 and the total emissions decreased a little less than 2%. And we attribute that change to the tremendous increase of electric vehicles on the roads here in the Bay Area,” he said.

It was a small but steady decrease. An extensive monitoring network recorded the evidence.

“That allows us to map the air. We put measurements on the roof of 50 locations around the Bay Area, most of them middle schools and high schools,” Cohen said.

While they believe EVs are the primary factor, they note that cars, in general have gotten more efficient. And that’s great news for California, a state with some very green goals.

“The state’s goal is for net zero in 2045 and to get there, we need annual reductions of 3.7% that continue until that time. This is about halfway there. So it puts us on a really good start but we all knew we would need to accelerate as we get closer to the deadline,” Cohen said.

In San Francisco, the city aims to achieve net zero emissions even sooner by 2040.

“At least for San Francisco, about 37% of the new vehicle purchases in 2023 were electric vehicles,” said Joseph Piasecki with San Francisco Environment Department. “We know with this increase in electric vehicle adoption, the city has to be prepared to meet that demand and not only for some of the studies that we’re working on with city partners like SFMTA but our own EV roadmap, were working and on pace to meet that demand.”

San Francisco leaders are optimistic about the city’s progress and response, they are making plans to make it easier to go electric.

“The department has a goal of 5,000 chargers by 2030,” Piasecki said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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