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Uber offers new feature for environmentally conscious riders

The new carbon emissions feature on Uber's app.
The new carbon emissions feature on Uber’s app. Uber

Environmentally conscious Uber riders interested in monitoring their carbon footprint can now discover the level of carbon dioxide emissions avoided if they take a trip in one of the company’s electric vehicle or hybrid options.

In a bid to burnish its green credentials, Uber said on Monday it has introduced a new “Emission Savings” feature in its ridesharing app, enabling passengers around the world to track and learn more about their carbon emissions impact.

“Just like we popularized rider ratings in an effort to promote respectful behavior during Uber rides, we’re excited to launch this new feature to both celebrate your impact and encourage greener choices when using Uber,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a message announcing the update.

To use the new feature, simply dive into the the Account section of the Uber app and tap Estimated CO2 saved to see the emissions you’ve saved by taking a ride in an Uber Green or Uber Comfort Electric vehicle.

To help you better understand the data, you’ll also see a graphic indicating what your CO2 emission savings are comparable to.

Uber said that in the future, it plans to add more products to its emission savings calculation, including trips with UberX Share and rides on e-bikes and e-scooters booked using the Uber app.

“Today is an important step in our journey to help inform riders about the estimated emissions they’ve saved and the positive impact they’re making in their communities,” Khosrowshahi said.

In a November update to its Climate Assessment and Performance Report, Uber revealed that as of the third quarter it had 74,000 zero-emission vehicles operating in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, almost double that of a year earlier, though in the U.S. and Canada only 6.5% of Uber trips were being made in such vehicles.

One of the goals of ridesharing services like Uber is to cut pollution by reducing car ownership, but some studies have suggested that the abundance of ridesharing vehicles can end up causing congestion and pollution in major cities. Four years ago, the San Francisco-headquartered company set a target of being a zero emissions platform in the U.S., Canada, and European cities by 2030. A more rapid move toward electric vehicles and hybrids would certainly help to reduce its own carbon footprint.

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