Overall emissions are falling, but not fast enough to hit international targets.
The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US for the second year in a row, according to an analysis from the Rhodium Group published Wednesday.
Overall, greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector in the United States fell by just under 1 percent in 2017. But this represents a slowdown from 2016 and is far short of what the country needs to do in order to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.
Shrinking electricity needs and growth in renewable energy helped drive the overall decline in emissions, but increasing travel has led transportation-related emissions to overtake those from power generators, as you can see in this chart:
Greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector have been falling since 2006, as the amount of power generated from coal and natural gas declined. That’s happened even though prices for both fuels were low and more natural gas generators were brought online:
Meanwhile, vehicle miles traveled by cars and trucks went up last year by 1.3 percent.
We’ve known for a while that getting emissions down from vehicles is a difficult problem. Even with the growth in electric cars and the arrival of electric trucks and buses, the vast majority of motor vehicles still use fossil fuels.
And while the power sector has swiftly been transitioning from coal to natural gas and renewables because they’ve become cheaper, the transition to cleaner fuels in vehicles is harder in part because there are so many individual units that would need to change. Low fuel prices are also incentivizing consumers to buy more gas-chugging SUVs and trucks — these light-duty Read More Here