Long-Term Scenarios of Transportation Decarbonization

Research output: NRELPoster


Achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 requires aggressive curbing of transportation emissions, currently the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the fastest growing source of emissions in many countries. Transportation, a heterogeneous sector with many different passenger and freight travel modes and applications, will require a portfolio of solutions to decarbonize. To inform how to achieve significant emissions reductions in U.S. passenger and freight mobility, researchers used the Transportation Energy and Mobility Pathway Options (TEMPO) model to explore many transformation pathways under expert-informed bounding ranges of assumptions on future travel behavior, technology advancements, and policies. Researchers performed more than 2,000 simulations to explore possible transformation pathways and found that a combination of technological, behavioral, and policy strategies enables a staggering 89% reduction in transportation GHG emissions by 2050. Key is the rapid adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) for all on-road passenger and freight applications, alongside a simultaneous decarbonization of electricity (supported by managed charging and proper planning). Managing travel demand growth can ease the transition by reducing the requisite amount of clean electricity and sustainable fuels supply.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 16th Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) Annual Meeting, 14-16 November 2023, Venice, Italy

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-87963


  • GHG
  • greenhouse gases
  • passenger and freight travel
  • transportation decarbonization
  • transportation energy analysis
  • zero-emission vehicles
  • ZEV


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