Holding back the worst impacts from climate change
will require major changes to the world's energy supply,
including in the transportation sector.
Transportation accounts for about 28%
of greenhouse gas emissions in the US alone, and about 13%
of the missions worldwide.
Within that, light-duty vehicles,
passenger cars and trucks that meet certain size and weight
measurements account for about 61% of all emissions.
The US, in an attempt to tackle this issue,
has said emissions reduction targets for 2030.
How and whether climate goals are
met will depend on both government policies
and consumer decisions.
But what does this all mean for the average car buyer?
As a consumer, navigating through emission details
and price points while researching vehicle options
might seem overwhelming, confusing, or impossible.
But what if there was a way to present this information that's
easy to access and simple to understand?
Well, a team of MIT researchers have done just that.
In a recent study, the team evaluated the 125 most
popular vehicles on the market against the emission reduction
targets the US will likely need to hit between 2030 and 2050.
And they are releasing the results
in the form of an online app called Carbon Counter.
The way Carbon County works is pretty simple.
You type in the vehicle you're interested in,
and it appears as a data point on a graph of cost
against greenhouse gas emissions.
As one navigates through the app, data is presented
and connections are made between various models
of the same car in comparison to others
to show consumers their options and compare them
to climate goals.
You can even look into the future, adjusting
the costs and the carbon emissions of different fuels
like gasoline and electricity to see how far each vehicle
technology can go in meeting the longer-term climate targets.
By bringing all of this information
together right at people's fingertips
and showing how cars stack up against climate targets,
the researchers hope this tool will help lower the barrier
for car buyers to make cost- and climate-saving decisions.