Future cars to cut pollution
Excitement around self-driving cars has been on the rise with an expected increase in convenience and road safety, and now studies also show that these cars will have benefits for energy efficiency and emissions reductions.
In Julia Pyper’s Scientific American article, “Self-Driving Cars Could Cut Greenhouse Gas Pollution,” she explains that experts have anticipated the positive effect such cars might have on the environment.
However, exact numbers have not been calculated until now.
Pyper references a report from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America that states that “intelligent transportation systems could achieve a two to four percent reduction in oil consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions each year over the next 10 years.” The study
looked at fuel savings from emerging transportation technologies such as adaptive cruise control, eco-navigation and wireless communications.
Additionally, Brad Plumer of The Washington Post writes in his article, “Will driverless cars solve our energy problems — or just create new ones?” that self-driving vehicles will be more fuel efficient, spending less time getting to destinations and looking for parking, while also being lighter than other cars.
There are some potentially negative environmental impacts of these vehicles in addition to the benefits.
Having self-driving cars could increase the amount of drivers on the road because driving would become even more accessible to those currently unable to drive themselves according to Ethan Elkind in his UC Berkeley blog post entitled, “Could Self-Driving Cars Help The Environment?”.