Autonomous vehicles hold tremendous potential to dramatically improve society by reducing accidents, improving productivity, increasing efficiency and enhancing energy security by precipitating a shift away from oil as the dominant transportation fuel.
SAFE has found that the widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles will result in annual benefits of $800 billion by 2050 through accident reduction, congestion mitigation, reduced oil consumption and a variety of consumer benefits. Most critically, with 94 percent of traffic accidents due wholly or in part to human error, self-driving cars—which do not drive drunk, tired or distracted—hold the potential to save thousands of lives every year.
There is currently no federal framework that regulates the nationwide deployment of autonomous vehicles, with states filling in the gap themselves with differing legislation. SAFE continues to prioritize passage of self-driving legislation at the federal level to expedite the tremendous societal potential of this technology.
Other New Mobility
Beyond autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles, a diverse array of mobility technologies is available that promise to enhance U.S. energy security by reducing our dependence on oil. Natural gas vehicles present a compelling alternative to petroleum-based fuels, particularly for fleet vehicles that are fueled at a central refueling point. Similarly, hydrogen fuel cells also present a compelling, emission-free alternative.
Urban mobility is also becoming less confined to vehicles. Micromobility—lightweight, electric and shared transportation, such as electric scooters—have become a popular complementary option to public transit for cities across the United States, with 84 million micromobility trips taken in 2018 alone. This technology presents a right-sized alternative to conventional vehicle traffic, improving urban congestion, enhancing roadway safety, and switching our transportation system away from oil.
Mobility Standards and Pricing
Transportation network companies (TNCs)—rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft—have grown quickly to become a compelling and dominant mobility option for those living in urban centers across the United States and beyond. The TNC model promises greater efficiencies, as these companies prioritize newer cars with better fuel economy and induce users to leave their own cars at home or forego buying a vehicle altogether. When combined with autonomous vehicles—the overwhelming majority of which run on electric or hybrid powertrains—the fuel efficiencies stand to significantly enhance American energy security.