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In the ongoing efforts to combat global climate change, one of the most promising trends has been a growing shift away from carbon-emitting vehicles. Transportation produces 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA, but hybrid and electric vehicles are growing in popularity and potentially poised to reduce that figure.
Part of this shift has come with encouragement from policymakers. Recognizing the role that fuel emissions play in contributing to the greenhouse gas effect and climate change, policymakers at all levels have been encouraging a transition toward lower- or zero-emission vehicles. Hybrid and electric vehicle owners are frequently eligible for government incentives like tax credits. States like California are planning to phase out new carbon-emitting vehicles from the market altogether by 2035. More recently, the Biden Administration and Congress have been making efforts to expand the national network of electric vehicle charging stations among other climate-related infrastructure projects.
Simultaneously, the market for hybrid and electric cars has never been larger. In October, electric vehicle market leader Tesla became one of only a handful of companies ever to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization, following a surge in sales and the announcement of a $4 billion partnership with Hertz to provide 100,000 rental vehicles. Meanwhile, entrenched auto industry manufacturers like GM, Toyota, BMW, and many others are racing to catch up to Tesla, offering an increasingly large variety of high-performing vehicles that have greater fuel economy and lower or no emissions.
And over the last few months, some consumers have been looking to the electric vehicle market for another reason: the rising price of gasoline.