The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Untertürkheim with the city of Stuttgart behind. Daimler

Germany's Top Court: Cities Can Ban Diesel Cars to Fight Air Pollution

German cities can ban older diesel vehicles from its roads to combat air pollution, the country's highest federal administrative court ruled Tuesday.

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has allowed the cities of Stuttgart and Duesseldorf to legally ban the most polluting diesel cars from zones worst affected by pollution, paving the way for other cities to issue similar bans.

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Mike Mozart / Flickr

BP: Oil Demand to Peak by 2040, With 5x Growth in Renewables

BP predicted that global oil consumption is likely to peak by the late 2030s partly due to the rise in renewable energy, electric vehicles and increasing regulations on single-use plastics.

The British oil giant released its "Energy Outlook" on Tuesday forecasting that demand for oil will peak at about 110 million barrels per day between 2035 and 2040 before gradually slowing and plateauing. Consumption is currently around 97 million barrels per day.

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Sven Hoffmann / Flickr

Germany Considers Free Public Transport to Fight Air Pollution

In car-obsessed Germany, the government is considering free public transportation in some of its most polluted cities to reduce road traffic and emissions from private vehicles.

"We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars," three ministers wrote in a letter to EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella in Brussels.

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www.routexl.com / Flickr

Small Drones Could Be Better for Climate Than Delivery Trucks, Says Study

By Zeke Hausfather

Automated, unmanned drones are poised to revolutionize the package delivery industry, with a number of companies already testing drone-based delivery methods.

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Top Clean Cars and Trucks of 2018

By Josh Goldman

Some of the cleanest cars you can buy today are powered by electricity, though the emissions of an electric vehicle (EV) varies depending on where it is plugged in. Even though parts of the U.S. still partially rely on coal fired power, the average EV sold in the U.S. produces the emissions equivalent of a gas vehicle that gets 73 MPG, and more than 70 percent of Americans live in an area where driving an EV results in fewer emissions than a 50 MPG gas-powered vehicle. Check out how electric vehicles (EVs) fare in your neck of the woods with this interactive tool that will calculate an EV's emissions via zip code.

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Nissan LEAF charging at the Freedom Station in Houston, TX. Wikimedia Commons

Major Increase in EV Charging Stations Across U.S.

While electric vehicles only make up a tiny 0.2 percent of passenger cars around the world, that number is growing, and growing fast. In 2016, there were 2 million EVs on the world's roads, up from "virtually non-existent" in 2012. Nearly 200,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2017 alone, a new record.

This boom in electric car ownership has corresponded with growth in public charging infrastructure. EVgo, the largest public network of fast-charging stations in the U.S., charged 40 million miles of electric driving in 2017. That's a dramatic increase compared to the 22 million EV miles charged in 2016.

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Trump Watch
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Report: White House Wants to Cut Renewable Energy Programs by 72%

President Donald Trump—who remarked Tuesday that his administration ended the nonexistent "war on beautiful clean coal"—really wants to make fossil fuels great again.

The White House plans to ask Congress to cut the Department of Energy's renewable energy and energy efficiency programs by a massive 72 percent in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by the Washington Post.

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Are Electric Vehicles Finally Taking Off? Here's What You Need to Now

By Jason Mathers

Electric vehicles (EVs) are poised to take off. We've just closed a year of record demand and investment. It's no longer a question of whether EVs—will arrive, it's how: How big of a role will EVs play, how soon and how clean will they be?

Popularizing EVs will depend on tackling key challenges. We're seeing progress on several fronts.

1. Bringing Down the Cost of Batteries

Battery packs account for a third of the upfront cost of full EVs. Driving these costs down expands the number of EV models that are price-competitive with conventional vehicles. There is tremendous progress here.

The price of lithium ion batteries dropped 73 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Numerous analyses point to battery costs of $100 per kilowatt hour (kWh) as the mark where full EVs become as affordable as traditional cars. General Motors' battery costs are $145 per kWh, and the company expects that number to drop under $100 per kWh by 2021.

2. Ramping Up Automaker Investment for New, Improved Models

Automakers are bringing electric cars and trucks to market with ever-better batteries and driving range. Ford Motor Co.'s plan to double its investments in EVs to $11 billion is just the latest example.

Globally, automakers have announced investments of more than $90 billion in EVs. Automakers still need to reveal more about their plans, detailing specific models, timing of release and availability in various markets.

3. Making Charging Stations More Widely Available

People are more likely to invest in plug-in cars once they feel confident they'll always find a place to recharge their batteries away from home, and fast. In fact, the availability of public charging infrastructure is a leading factor in EV adoption.

While the vast majority of charging occurs at home, public charging stations enable EV drivers to take extended trips. They also facilitate EV ownership by households reliant on on-street parking.

A recent assessment found the need for 600,000 public "level 2" (240 volt) plugs and 27,500 fast-charging plugs nationwide by 2030. By mid-2017, there were 36,000 public level 2 plugs and 3,300 fast-charging plugs in the U.S. So, there is a long way to go on this front.

Growth will continue over the next year as states deploy funds from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement to support EV charging infrastructure. Beyond the settlement, California recently approved a utility effort to expand access to charging in the light, medium and heavy-duty sectors, with more long-term, broader projects pending. More states should follow California's lead.

The time it takes to recharge will need to be improved, too. Helpfully, efforts are underway to deploy a next generation of fast-charging stations capable of adding 250 miles in a 15-minute fuel stop.

4. Shifting to Clean Energy for Charging

To get the most out of EVs, we need more renewable energy on the electric grid and drivers who charge vehicles when the grid is its cleanest. States play a vital role.

For example, New York's Reforming the Energy Vision aims to decentralize the electric grid, while aligning utility earnings with public policy needs and marketplace innovations. The program focuses on making it easier—and financially attractive—for customers to help improve the electric system by opting for EVs, rooftop solar and other energy investments.

By encouraging customers to charge EVs at times when renewable energy is readily available and affordable, New York is ensuring that EVs will benefit the grid and the environment.

5. Strengthening and Extending Emission Standards

Well-designed emission standards are critical to scaling clean vehicle solutions, such as EVs. With the certainty of long-term standards in place, manufacturers invest. This dynamic can be seen across the globe, as policy measures from China to California are driving EV investments.

Unfortunately, we are at risk of impairing this critical tool in the U.S. At a time when we should be challenging ourselves to set a new round of protective standards, the Trump administration is reconsidering standards that were set long ago.

The automotive industry has been complicit in this effort, despite its previous embrace of the same standards. To avoid undercutting their own investments in the long-term success of EVs, it is critical that automakers work proactively to strengthen and extend vehicle emission standards.

We're at a Crossroads

Over the next decade EVs can become a major part of our fleet with benefits for our health, economy and environment. We can create a future that drives down global oil demand and cuts nearly 2 billion tons of climate pollution a year.

Technical innovation has opened up this path. We now must muster the conviction to take it.


California Goes Big on EVs

By Simon Mui

Gov. Brown released an Executive Order Friday providing the details of an initiative to put 5 million electric-drive vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030, part of a new goal announced last week in his State of the State address.

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