Reducing Seattle’s Transportation Pollution

Seattle’s clean electricity provides the backbone of our climate strategy–supplying carbon free power to our homes and businesses. While this is critical in helping us manage our climate pollution, we still have a long way to go. Road transportation is responsible for two-thirds of Seattle’s climate pollution.

Meeting the growing challenge of climate change by delivering on our share of the Paris Climate Agreement requires a new generation of visionary thinking by Seattle’s leaders to break our dependence on oil by plugging our transportation sector into our clean electricity grid.

While we continue to expand transit services, light duty vehicles (cars and small trucks), whether owned or shared, will remain an important part of our transportation system. To that end, Seattle set a goal to increase electric vehicle ownership to 30% by 2030. To meet this goal, the City launched the Drive Clean Seattle Initiative to significantly expand our work to electrify the transportation sector at scale and to put us on the path to meet our carbon neutral goal.

Seattle is ranked as one of the top US markets for electric vehicles. As of the end of 2016, Seattle ranked 5th of the 50 largest US cities in highest electric vehicle sales share and 6th most extensive public electric charging infrastructure. So far in 2017, EV sales are up 74% in the United States over 2016 and reached a new record of 1.2% of all US car sales.

While this early market growth is impressive, significant barriers persist which prevent more widespread adoption. These barriers include the up-front vehicle cost, the convenience or availability of charging, and general consumer awareness about electric vehicles. To reach our goals, Seattle must deploy a comprehensive suite of strategies that address these barriers while centering this work in environmental justice. The 2017 Drive Clean Seattle Report and Implementation Strategy outlines our approach and provides more detail about the next steps we are taking to accelerate the transition of our transportation economy.