Decarbonizing the transportation sector will address some of the primary drivers of inflation: gasoline and diesel prices. At its peak this past summer, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all energy items grew 41.6 percent on an annual basis, contributing 40 percent to headline inflation. High oil prices caused by international conflicts and supply chain issues were the primary contributors to this trend. Since oil is currently the bedrock of our transportation system, the price of goods and services dependent on ground, air, and maritime transportation has increased dramatically.
The burden of these price increases have fallen largely on price-sensitive working families, small businesses, and their communities. This is especially challenging for low-income earners, many of whom spend more on transportation as a proportion of their budget than their higher-earning counterparts. Decarbonizing the domestic transportation sector using electric vehicles would significantly cut down on transportation costs and oil-fueled inflation because it would dramatically reduce the demand for gasoline and diesel and replace it with cheaper, and more price stable, electricity.
Transitioning to electric vehicles would also ensure that we invest in local economies—not foreign exporters, who trade, transport, refine, and burn oil across vast distances. Paying an electricity bill delivers funds directly to local electricity providers, which are regulated by the local, state, and federal government. The money a family spends to charge their electric vehicle would likely stay local—and can then be reinvested to fund more efficient generation and transmission for the corresponding region.
Since the invention of the automobile, Americans have had to grapple with volatile swings in gasoline prices. What if we could break this cycle by decarbonizing our transportation sector, which would reinvest in local energy markets and protect Americans from inflation at the pump?
We can do this by transitioning to electric vehicles.