Energy efficiency in transportation is one of the surest ways to ease a crushing financial burden for low-income households and households of colour, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reports in a recent blog post.
Transportation is the second-largest expense for U.S. families, writes ACEEE senior transportation researcher Shruti Vaidyanathan, consuming 20% of the average household budget and up to 30% for people with lower incomes.
“On average, the percentage of household income that low-income households pay on their home energy bills is more than three times what their higher-income counterparts pay,” she notes. “Energy efficiency can help reduce this burden and improve energy affordability for households.”
But easing that burden “requires a targeted set of policies and programs to achieve a balance of housing and jobs, provide communities with transportation alternatives, and reduce commute distances,” Vaidyanathan writes. Key elements of the solution include compact, transit-oriented development, financially-accessible, mixed-income neighbourhoods, and planning practices that allow lower-income families to live closer to city centres, rather than having to commute from the urban fringe.