Published on March 14th, 2016 | by Andrea Bertoli
Are Uber and Lyft Really that Green?
I like to think of all sharing economy options, like rideshare, carpool, and shared home services like Airbnb as more sustainable than their old school counterparts like taxis and hotels, and can help us build the sustainable city of the future. But this is the image these hip brands wish to cultivate, without the initiatives to back it up.
Two recent posts from our friend Robyn Purchia of EdenKeeper and the SF Examiner delve into this issue about whether or not Lyft and Uber, now known as ride-hailing services instead of ridesharing, are actually not as green as we’d like them to be.
As Purchia explains, the 2008 San Francisco Green Taxi Ordinance reduced gas consumption by 2.9 million gallons per year, lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 35,000 tons annually, and saved drivers money in gas costs and brake repairs. But Lyft and Uber, famously ‘disrupting’ this system, and are potentially giving the city by the bay a larger carbon footprint.
Ride-hailing services are, “driving business away from The City’s green taxi fleet; they are allowing drivers from all over the state to oversaturate San Francisco streets with any type of car they want. Last week, a Lyft driver from Santa Cruz picked me up in a Jeep. A few years ago, Uber sent a Hummer to drive me home,” explains Purchia.
She explains that without data, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency can’t make statements, but now that data has been released, many people are excited that there will be some direct legislative action. Until then, Purchia asks why don’t these companies regulate themselves? Both Lyft and Uber have a commitment to reduce emissions (primarily by reducing car ownership), but they’ve made no steps in the right direction. In fact, Lyft actually offered to pay a stipend to new SUV drivers to accommodate the increase in Lyft Plus ride option. And both companies have said it would detract from the freedom to add fuel efficiency to the list.