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New York City just made a major change to its laws for Uber and Lyft drivers: 'Over 100,000 vehicles on our city streets'

"We are excited to partner with New York City on our journey."

Uber all-electric rideshare service

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced in his second State of the City address that rideshare services like Lyft and Uber must operate only electric vehicles (or EVs) by 2030.

This follows a pattern of similar moves made by the city to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on its streets, such as the decision to electrify more than 900 city vehicles and to expand the number of charging ports.

Mayor Adams also promised, "That's zero emissions for over 100,000 vehicles on our city streets. And it will be achieved with no new costs for individual drivers."

Both Uber and Lyft responded positively to the news.

Lyft's Director of Sustainability Paul Augustine said of the announcement, "We are excited to partner with New York City on our journey." Josh Gold, Uber's Senior Director of Public Policy and Communications responded to the news via email, saying that the company applauds the mayor's move to reduce climate-harming pollution.

This is good news for the environment. Fuel burned by conventional vehicles comes from dirty energy sources like coal and oil and contributes significantly to our warming planet, so any transition away from their use is welcome.

Mandates like these on a local level can also help motivate broader, national changes. When California motioned to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035, other states signaled their interest in following suit.

There has been surprisingly little pushback on these kinds of announcements from the automotive and transport industries. The car manufacturer Ford called the California mandate a "landmark standard that will define clean transportation," and Uber's favorable response to the New York City announcement coincides with "road to zero" (emissions) goals already set by the company.

Rental car companies like Hertz have also recognized the value of switching to EVs, prior to any government mandate.

The embrace of EVs by private companies and local governments may be a sign of more sweeping clean-energy changes to come.

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