Is it practical to use Uber to save on gasoline use and pollution? Actually, it’s not as safe as you might think at the moment. In reality, using Uber to “be green” is less than ideal.
And I’ll explain in just a second.
Recently, the ride-sharing giant announced it will move to a zero-emission fleet by the year 2040. In fact, the company is spending just shy of a billion dollars to do so.
The Pollution of Uber
Vehicles contribute to pollution levels, there’s no doubt about that. But, how much do you think ride-hailing services contribute?
According to a recent study, services like Uber and Lyft contribute 69% more pollution on average than if people were to drive their own vehicles.
How is the pollution that much higher? Because of the way ride-hailing services work.
For example, let’s say that you want to go from your house to a party that is five miles away. To drive your own car, it would be about a 10-mile round trip.
Now, let’s say you want to use an Uber. What if the driver is about two miles from your house? Instead of the straight five miles, there is now seven miles worth of driving involved just to get to the party.
What if your Uber driver is about three miles away at the end of the night? The entire experience has shifted a 10-mile adventure into 15. That’s because it’s highly unlikely you’ll have an Uber sitting outside of your house or parked waiting for the party to be over.
The bottom line is that ride-sharing vehicles are constantly in motion or sitting with the engine idle. The end result is a constant use of gas.
But What About Sharing a Car with Others?
One of the glories of public transport is the fact that many people can get on the bus instead of driving their own vehicles. This can considerably cut down on how much pollution is generated.
However, the same really can’t be said about companies like Uber and Lyft. In fact, out of the many times I’ve used one of these services, I’ve only shared the car once.
Most of the time, I’m riding by myself. In fact, you can choose that as an option when looking for a pickup.
My point is these services are not intended to be green methods of traveling. Yes, they’re convenient. But there was never the public argument how they curb CO2 emissions.
And for good reason…they don’t.
What is Uber Planning to Do?
First of all, the company is rolling out Uber Green. In this instance, riders can choose to spend an extra dollar to commute in an electric vehicle or hybrid. Though, this isn’t available in every city just yet.
Next, the company is committing to $800 million to move its fleet of vehicles to electric. A $1 surcharge from each ride using Uber Green is helping to subsidize the fleet.
Third, drivers who have EVs or hybrid vehicles will get an extra $0.50 for every trip completed. And if your vehicle is completely electric, you’ll get another $1 from the company. So, EVs can make an extra $1.50 per Uber Green trip.
If you don’t have an EV or hybrid vehicle, don’t worry. Uber is setting up plans with some of the biggest rental agencies in the world to supply drivers with a greater range of eco-friendly vehicles to rent.
And lastly, the company is focusing on battery swapping so that charging won’t be an issue for those who put in a full day of driving.
This isn’t a bad plan, and has potential to work out in both the company’s and the environment’s favor.
Will You Ride Uber Green?
I’ve never had a chance to ride in Uber Green as of yet. But, it will be something that I’ll keep an eye on. For one thing, I’ve never been driven around in an electric car. And it’s a great way to tell if I truly want one or not.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction. And I’m looking forward to seeing how much of an impact this actually makes on the world as a whole.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.