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Archived: Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions

Why is this a priority?
  • Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. The largest source of greenhouse gases in Washington State is transportation.
  • Under Washington law, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020.
  • For Washington to meet its statutory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the volume of emissions from transportation must be reduced.
  • The goal target of 37.5 million metric tons per year in 2020 equals the statewide greenhouse gases from transportation in 1990.
How are we doing?
  • As of December 2013, the total for transportation greenhouse gas emissions was 40.6 MMt. This is a fifteen percent reduction from a high of 47.6 MMT in 2007. 2013 is the most recent year of data (Note: 2014 data will be available at the end of 2016).
  • There has been a downward trend in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources since 2008 due to slower growth in economic activity, higher fuel prices, and improved fuel efficiency of vehicles.
  • However, Washington State is not projected to meet the statutory goal of 37.5 MMt/Yr for transportation by 2020.
What are we working on?

Washington State has a number of initiatives and policies underway to achieve this measure. Washington is/has:

  • Adopted policies to encourage the development, introduction and use of bio-fuels through a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
  • Adopted clean car standards for new vehicles that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 34% by 2025.
  • Adopting hybrid-electric and plug-in electric vehicles at a faster pace than most states in the country, and expanding the network of electric re-charging stations that will help push future adoption by ensuring abundant charging opportunities for extended travel distances.
How can you help?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, such as:

  • Consider alternative modes of travel to reduce fuel use (car-pooling, transit, bicycling, and walking);
  • New vehicle fuel efficiency is improving and manufacturers are bringing more advanced technology vehicles to the marketplace. When next purchasing a vehicle, consider purchasing a vehicle that gets better fuel economy or an alternative-fuel, electric or plug-in electric vehicle.