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Let's deliver reduced transportation emissions

Key takeaways:

  • A diverse mix of technologies is vital to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • We need policy that encourages investments in all technologies to reduce emissions.
  • Lower-emission fuels offer the potential for customers who cannot or do not want to purchase an EV to still play their part in reducing GHG emissions.

Tanya Vetter

Vice President of Strategy and Planning, Product Solutions

In more than 25 years with ExxonMobil, I’ve been part of teams in Canada, Europe, Singapore and the United States. Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve seen firsthand our remarkable ability to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers.

In my current role leading strategy and planning for our Product Solutions business, I work every day with a team that’s at the intersection of innovation and sustainability. From my perspective, there are no better people to help industry meet its ambitions of a lower-carbon future.

Reducing Emissions, Not Options

Climate change is real. We know greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced, and from our perspective, it’s clear that a diverse mix of technologies is crucial to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid EVs will of course play a role. They offer a promising avenue to reduce emissions, and our Low Carbon Solutions team recently announced plans to produce lithium – the primary element needed in rechargeable batteries. By providing a new source of lithium to the market, we’ll strengthen supply security for companies investing in EVs and battery manufacturing facilities in North America.

EVs and hybrids are expected to make a positive impact in reducing emissions on our roads and highways. But I believe it’s equally important to figure out how we can reduce GHG emissions from the hundreds of millions of cars, trucks, planes, ships and trains that currently run on liquid fuels. They’re not going anywhere anytime soon, and shutting them down isn’t an option.

We need policy that encourages investments in all technologies to reduce emissions from these fleets. That requires a new way of thinking about the entire transportation system, by considering the life cycle carbon intensity of fuels, and how to make these vehicles operate more efficiently. 

Policies That Include All Options 

According to the Energy Information Administration, it may take decades for EVs and hybrids to account for even half of global vehicle sales. Our investments in lithium will support that development, and other technologies we’re working to deploy more broadly, like carbon capture, hydrogen and biofuels, can help society accelerate the path to net zero, while allowing consumers to still choose the type of vehicle they drive. 

Our elected officials can also help, and with the right policies in place, emissions from internal combustion engines could be reduced. We have long supported an economy-wide price on carbon as the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions, but a sectoral-based policy could offer a meaningful, more incremental first step.  

For example, we believe the fastest, lowest-cost option to reduce transportation emissions is a federal low carbon fuel standard that necessarily includes well-to-wheel vehicle standards. Such a policy would recognize and encourage emission reductions from production, processing and on-road use, regardless of whether a vehicle has a tailpipe. 

Fuel producers can also reduce the carbon intensity of refining processes and fuels to help drive emission reductions. We’re already working on a goal to supply the market with 200,000 barrels per day of lower-emission fuels by 2030, including renewable diesel, which is compatible with today’s engines and fueling infrastructure.  

Lower-emission fuels offer the potential for customers who cannot or do not want to purchase an EV to still play their part in reducing GHG emissions. To better encourage investment, public policy needs to more closely link emissions reductions to consumer behavior.  

I’m proud of our recent announcement to aim to produce enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of more than a million EVs every year by 2030, and I’m equally proud of the ongoing work we’re doing to reduce GHG emissions from the fuels that are needed today. No other company is better positioned to deliver the technologies at the scale required to reduce emissions from both the fleets of today and tomorrow. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
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Tanya Vetter is vice president of strategy and planning for Product Solutions at ExxonMobil.

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