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A growing number of cities, states and countries aim to dramatically reduce or even eliminate carbon emissions to avert catastrophic levels of climate change.

越来越多的城市、州和国家致力于大幅减少甚至消除碳排放,以避免灾难性的气候变化。

Ideas about how to get this done as soon as possible, including those Democratic lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio have sketched out in the Green New Deal framework, vary. But most energy experts see two basic steps as essential.

关于如何尽快实现这一目标,包括众议员亚历山德里亚·奥卡西欧等民主党议员在绿色新政框架下提出的想法各不相同。但大多数能源专家认为,有两个基本步骤至关重要。



One reason why it will be hard if not impossible to convert all U.S. transportation to electric models within a decade or two is simple. Vehicles of all kinds are surprisingly durable. We’ve determined that the average American car, truck and SUV remains in use for 16.6 years with many logging 200,000 miles or more.

要想在10年或20年内将美国所有的交通工具都转变为电动模式,即使并非不可能,也是困难重重,原因之一很简单。各种各样的汽车都出奇地耐用。我们已经确定,美国汽车、卡车和SUV的平均使用年限为16.6年,其中许多车的行驶里程超过20万英里。

When we researched how fast the nation’s entire fleet turns over, we found that even if every U.S. vehicle sold were electric starting today, it would take until 2040 for 90% of vehicles in use to be electric.

当我们研究美国所有车辆的周转速度时,我们发现,即使从今天开始,美国售出的每一辆汽车都是电动的,也要到2040年,美国90%使用的汽车才会都是电动的。

U.S. sales of electric drive vehicles have grown steadily since the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid launched in 2010. In 2018, Americans bought 361,307 battery-powered plug-in electric cars, and 2,300 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which like EVs produce no tailpipe emissions. Yet even following a big spike in sales in 2018 when Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 was launched, EVs still only account for less than 2% of new vehicle sales.

自2010年纯电动日产聆风和雪佛兰伏特插电式混合动力车问世以来,美国电动汽车的销量一直稳步增长。2018年,美国人购买了361307辆电池驱动的插电式电动汽车,以及2300辆氢燃料电池汽车,这些汽车和电动汽车一样不产生尾气排放。然而,尽管特斯拉的大众市场车型Model 3在2018年推出时销量大幅飙升,但电动汽车在新车销量中所占比例仍不到2%。

The reality is most Americans buying new passenger vehicles today are shopping for gasoline-fueled SUVs and pickup trucks.

现实情况是,如今大多数购买新乘用车的美国人,都在购买汽油驱动的SUV和皮卡。

EV sales vs other vehicles

电动汽车销量与其他汽车销量之比

The number of electric vehicles sold in the U.S. has grown but remains low. In 2018, Americans bought about 361,000 EVs and roughly 17 million vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

美国的电动汽车销量有所增长,但仍处于低位。2018年,美国人购买了约36.1万辆电动汽车和约1700万辆使用化石燃料的汽车。

EV improvements

电动汽车的改进



Smaller tax credits are available for plug-in hybrids. However well-intentioned, this bias may be unhelpful because Americans who buy new vehicles have largely demonstrated they just aren’t ready to make the leap to going fully electric yet.

插电式混合动力车享受较小的税收抵免。尽管出发点是好的,但这种偏见可能无益,因为购买新车的美国人在很大程度上已经表明,他们还没有准备好向纯电动汽车迈进。

States are also providing incentives. California, Oregon and eight Northeastern states follow the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate that requires automakers to sell increasing numbers of EVs. The rest of the country follows the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which instead require automakers to reduce the average emissions from the new vehicles they sell.

各州也在提供激励措施。加州、俄勒冈州和美国东北部8个州遵循零排放汽车的规定,要求汽车制造商销售越来越多的电动汽车。美国其他地区遵循的是企业平均燃油经济性标准,该标准要求汽车制造商降低他们销售新车的平均排放量。

Seriously trying to reduce the carbon footprint of American transportation would require much more predictable policies sending a strong signal to American drivers that their next car should be environmentally friendly. A carbon tax, in our view, would work better than complicated fuel-economy regulations. But even if one could be implemented in the U.S., it might not suffice.

认真地说,要想减少美国交通的碳足迹,就需要采取更为可预测的政策,向美国司机发出强烈的信号,即他们的下一辆车应该是环保型的。我们认为,碳税比复杂的燃油经济性法规更有效。但即使在美国可以实施,这也可能不够。

Ultimately, the switch from fossil-fueled to electric vehicles is a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Most drivers won’t let go of their gas tanks until they are confident that finding a place to quickly charge their automotive batteries will be as easy as finding a gas station is today. But no one will spend the money building all that charging infrastructure until there’s a bigger market.

归根结底,从化石燃料转向电动汽车是一个典型的问题:先有鸡还是先有蛋。大多数司机在确信找到一个快速给汽车电池充电的地方——就像如今找到加油站一样容易之前,是不会放弃燃油的。但是没有人会把钱花在建设充电基础设施上,直到有一个更大的市场。

The government can help solve this problem by subsidizing the chickens or the eggs or both. But before that happens, there would need to be more consensus on what the future carbon-free technology will look like. Battery-powered EVs are currently ahead of the pack, but many advocates of vehicles powered by hydrogen still trust that their technology of choice will take off.

政府可以通过补贴鸡或鸡蛋或两者都补贴,来帮助解决这个问题。但在这种情况发生之前,需要就未来无碳技术的前景达成更多共识。电池驱动的电动汽车目前处于领先地位,但是许多氢动力汽车的拥护者仍然相信他们选择的技术将会起飞。



Finally, we believe that strong new government incentives would be required to eliminate emissions from freight-hauling trucks. The trucking industry is taking steps in that direction, such as Tesla’s plans to roll out big electric rigs and Toyota’s partnership with the Kenworth Truck Co. to make 18-wheelers powered by hydrogen fuel cells. But progress is slow.

最后,我们认为,需要政府出台强有力的新激励措施,以消除货运卡车的排放。卡车行业正在朝着这个方向采取措施,比如特斯拉计划推出大型电动钻机,丰田与肯沃思卡车公司合作生产18轮氢燃料电池货车,然而进展缓慢。