Uber Wants To Fight Climate Change But It's Not Doing Enough

Illustration for article titled Uber Wants To Fight Climate Change But It's Not Doing Enough
Illustration: Uber

Uber announced that its Uber Green initiative will see broader adoption in 2021, with the company expanding the service to include more than 1,400 North American locations.

The announcement goes on to extol Uber’s commitment to “tackling the challenge of climate change.” Uber claims it’s focusing on new partnerships, and a renewed commitment to helping drivers get into EVs. In the statement, the ride-hailing company said:

...we’re announcing key updates to our partnerships with vehicle manufacturers, charging network providers, and EV rental and fleet companies to help drivers access more savings and make an equitable transition to electric vehicles.

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But for an admittedly infrequent user of the service like me, this raises the inevitable question: “There’s an Uber Green?” Because mostly, the question I have encountered and have heard of from others is simply, “Uber or UberX?”

Then again, I don’t see many Uber cars in my area. I’ll see Lyfts here and there, but fewer Ubers. To give you an idea how under-represented the market is in the Rio Grande Valley, I’ll share that I yell “Look, an Uber!” every time I see the Uber logo on some commuter car driving past.

Illustration for article titled Uber Wants To Fight Climate Change But It's Not Doing Enough
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

You’d think I saw a Volkswagen Corrado or some such rarity, which I did the one time and lost my mind, but no; it’s just an Uber. Where does that leave underrepresented markets, such as that of the RGV, as far as Uber Green goes? My point being that it’s not good enough to just expand a green initiative. Uber has to go all-in.

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Illustration for article titled Uber Wants To Fight Climate Change But It's Not Doing Enough
Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

I think it’s more likely I’ll see that Corrado again before I see an EV Uber here. We are at a juncture where initiatives like these, from companies as big as Uber, can really make a difference as a platform-wide rollout. Then we’d see positive change rather than just another press release. The market is reacting to environmental impacts, and ride-hailing now makes up a sizable part of our transportation ecosystem. To be trite, the time is now.

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As if the lukewarm announcement wasn’t enough, Uber cites Avis EV rentals as the way forward to getting drivers into eco cars. That’s it. Avis Rentals. Hey, Uber, if you don’t want to call your drivers employees, at the very least give them all EVs and cover the cost of operation. That way, we actually get green cars on the road while simultaneously helping these independent contractors achieve things like healthcare and a livable wage.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

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Uber Wants To Fight Climate Change But It’s Not Doing Enough

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