Lyft News

Lyft's Commitment to Climate Action

Sep 15, 2022

By Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of Lyft

As a child I spent countless hours stuck on the freeways of Los Angeles, sitting in traffic and surrounded by cars spewing exhaust into the air. The city was often covered in a thick layer of smog. All of it – the traffic, the pollution — bothered me. There had to be a better way. 

In 2012, we founded Lyft to help make Californians less dependent on their cars. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to enable more people to go car-free, our work to pioneer Shared Rides, and the fact that we are the largest micromobility operator in the country. But climate change has caused conditions in California to rapidly deteriorate. In recent years, our state has suffered from some of the worst air quality and most extreme weather events in decades. 

I have four young children, and as a father, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to leave the planet in a better condition for the next generation. What I see in California scares me. This is our new normal: record-setting wildfires plaguing every part of the state, unrelenting drought, and extreme heat. The wildfires alone pollute our air, devastate our national parks, destroy towns, disrupt local economies, and cost lives. 

So what can we do about it? If you look at the data, the two largest sources of carbon emissions in California are transportation and wildfires. Let’s start there. Reducing transportation and wildfire emissions is the most effective step we can take to clean up our air and prevent worst-case climate scenarios. 

CA Emissions by Sector Graph V2

California has long been a climate change leader. The state has successfully reduced emissions below 1990 levels, but unfortunately, it is widely recognized that California is not on track to reach its 2030 goals.

CA GHG Emissions

Furthermore, the United States has also fallen far behind Europe and China in adopting EVs. California is trying to catch up by banning new sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, but without heavy investment in charging infrastructure and help for low- and middle-income families to switch to EVs, the unfunded mandate risks failure.

CA Electric Vehicle Market Share

When environmental leaders in California approached us last year about tackling this problem, we saw an opportunity to put real resources behind smart policy. The Clean Air Initiative, now known as Proposition 30, is the most significant climate initiative that California voters will have ever had the chance to weigh in on. Given the incredible urgency for action, I committed Lyft to be a major supporter.

It specifically does three things:

  1. It makes zero-emission vehicles cheaper with point-of-sale rebates. Many low- and middle-income Californians can’t afford electric vehicles — this is one of the two main obstacles to widespread adoption.

  2. It puts money behind a statewide electric vehicle charging network that will finally include low- and middle-income communities. Today, you mostly see charging infrastructure along highways or in wealthy neighborhoods. 

  3. It significantly increases resources to help prevent and fight wildfires, with money for early detection, firefighter training and staffing, and forest management. 

Proposition 30 funds this through a tax on individuals who earn more than $2 million a year. I’m fortunate enough to be impacted by this tax and happy to pay it to help turn back the clock on this existential threat.

Why is Lyft involved at all? Two years ago, Lyft made a commitment to have 100% of vehicles operating on the platform electrified by the year 2030. We then supported regulation in California, Massachusetts, and other proposals being considered in state houses across the country. We are committed to achieving 100% vehicle electrification regardless of Proposition 30’s outcome.

Not a single dollar of Proposition 30 is earmarked for Lyft or the Ridesharing industry as a whole. Ridesharing drivers will be eligible just like ALL Californians, but they won’t receive any type of priority or preference. In fact, over 50% of the EV funding must be directed towards low-income families to ensure the broad benefits of electrification are felt by all.

A lot of voters agree with us. Early support for the measure is strong. What started with good policy created by a diverse group of organizations — including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Lung Association, California State Firefighters, the Coalition for Clean Air, the State Association of Electrical Workers – IBEW, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, and Move LA — is quickly turning into a movement, with a strong majority of likely voters in support of Proposition 30.

Let’s meet this challenge and do something significant to address the two largest sources of pollution: transportation and wildfires. It won’t become a reality without your support. I strongly encourage everyone to vote Yes on Proposition 30 this November.

Paid for by Lyft, Inc.