Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The transportation sector includes light-duty vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles (trucks), off-road vehicles, buses, rail, shipping, and aviation. Reducing emissions in this sector is critical in order to achieve the pathways to zero carbon. Transportation emissions accounted for 37 percent of total CO₂ emissions from energy and industry in 2019. The principal strategy for decarbonizing transportation is electrification (including battery, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cells) of all light-duty vehicles, urban-based trucks and buses, rail, much of long-haul trucking, and some short-haul shipping and aviation. For long-haul aviation and long-haul ocean shipping, advanced low-carbon biofuels and synthetic liquids or gases produced with renewable energy are the leading energy contenders. The second strategy builds on initiatives to reduce vehicle use and miles traveled while enhancing accessibility to health, education, jobs, and other services for the mobility disadvantaged. This transition will require a variety of actions by federal, state, and local governments as spelled out in detail in the report that follows.

Publication Citation

Daniel Sperling, Lew Fulton & Vicki Arroyo, Accelerating Deep Decarbonization in the U.S. Transportation Sector, in Zero Carbon Action Plan 188 (New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network 2020).