The New York Times published an interactive article on the state of auto emissions in America this morning. It is based on data released through Boston University’s Database of Road Transportation Emissions. The map above shows where we were in 2017. From 1990 to 2017 in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, emissions outpaced our population growth. Total emissions increased 113 percent overall and 27 percent per person (in Los Angeles, total emissions over the same time period increased 16 percent overall and went DOWN 2 percent per person).
Nearly 60 percent of those increased emissions come from passenger cars, S.U.V.s, and pick-up trucks. National fuel economy standards have not been enough to stem the tide. A strong economy and low gas prices have meant people are driving more miles and buying more and bigger vehicles, which in turn burn more gas. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is expected to rollback Obama-era efficiency standards for passenger vehicles this month.
The NYT’s charts show us as the third largest offender overall after New York and Los Angeles. We saw less of a recession dip and have been on one of the most marked rises nationally since 2010. When adjusted for population, we move a little farther down in the pack. But, interestingly, that’s where transit-friendly New York does much better than we do.
Since the federal government has been ceding authority for regulations, cities and states have been picking up the slack, setting pollution standards, providing tax incentives, expanding public transit, encouraging carpooling, and planning denser neighborhoods. The study is further evidence that the choices cities make will have a greater and greater impact on our future.
You can play with the data here.