New Report Finds Transportation Efficiencies Can Contribute to Significant GHG Reductions and Consumer Savings

For Immediate Release


Michael Oko, NRDC, 202-513-6245 or 202-904-5245 (cell)

New Report Finds Transportation Efficiencies Can Contribute to Significant GHG Reductions and Consumer Savings

First-ever Comprehensive Analysis Looks at Transportation Strategies to Address Climate Change

WASHINGTON - The first-ever comprehensive analysis of transportation efficiency
and its relationship to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and consumer
savings was released today by a diverse group of stakeholders committed
to addressing climate change. Sponsored by transportation experts,
industry, environmental organizations, federal agencies, trade
associations and leading foundations, Moving Cooler: An Analysis of Transportation Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions,
provides an objective and scientific analysis of the effectiveness and
cost of almost 50 scalable transportation strategies, both alone and
combined, to reduce GHG emissions.

“Our transportation
choices affect the quality of our lives, as well as our air, water and
climate. The Moving Cooler report, the first scientific study of the
impacts of comprehensive transportation policies and investments on
global warming, will help us make better choices,” said Peter Lehner,
Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This
report shows that we can align our transportation, climate and
energy policies to reduce oil consumption, cut heat-trapping pollution
and increase savings for consumers.”

The Moving Cooler
report, published by the Urban Land Institute, looks at the
possibilities of transportation efficiencies – investments in a less
energy-intensive transportation system, such as transit alternatives
and more efficient driving – by examining two basic approaches: travel
activity, and vehicle and system operations. It found that combining
various transportation approaches together could yield meaningful GHG
emission reductions, while also achieving fuel savings and savings to
consumers on their transportation costs.

Among the report’s top-line findings are that implementing “bundles” of transportation efficiency strategies could:

  • Achieve
    annual GHG emission reductions of up to 24% below baseline levels in
    2050, by changing current transportation systems and operations, travel
    behavior, land use patterns, and public policy and regulations.
  • Reduce
    fuel consumption that translates to a savings of at least 110 million
    barrels of oil a year. At maximum levels of deployment, these savings
    could yield as much as 660 million barrels per year. 
  • Provide
    consumers with an estimated average savings in direct vehicle costs of
    up to $112 billion annually over a 40-year timeframe. 

the possible bundles, some of the approaches that contribute most to
GHG reductions are: local and regional regulations that increase the
cost of single occupancy vehicle travel; regulations that reduce and
enforce speed limits; educational efforts that encourage eco-driving
behavior; smart growth strategies that reduce travel distances; and
multimodal strategies that expand options for travel. 

contributes about 28 percent of the United States’ total GHG emissions
– and emissions from transportation are growing faster than other
sectors, representing almost half of the increase in total GHG
emissions between 1990 and 2006.

Moving Cooler
also found that many of the strategies examined in the study could
actually be implemented within the next few years, and would begin to
generate GHG reductions prior to 2020, helping to meet many social,
economic, and environmental goals for the nation.

study was commissioned by several organizations that came together in
agreement that the challenge of climate change can be met in a way that
increases the nation’s energy security, reduces pollution, and saves
consumers money on their transportation costs. The sponsoring
organizations of Moving Cooler were: the American Public
Transportation Association; the Environmental Defense Fund; the
Intelligent Transportation Society of America; the Kresge Foundation;
the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund;
the Rockefeller Foundation; the Shell Oil Company; the Surdna
Foundation; the Funders Network for Smart Growth; the Urban Land
Institute; as well as a number of federal agencies, including the
Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Highway Administration;
and the Federal Transit Administration.

The full study as well as an overview fact sheet can be viewed by the media at:



The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

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