electric vehicles lined up with hoods open


Transitioning away from gasoline in transportation will require forward-thinking initiatives to envision mobility in and around Atherton that does not rely on gas vehicles. Reducing vehicle miles by walking, biking, and taking public transit will cause a significant reduction in transportation related greenhouse gas emissions. 

Emissions from Transportation

Vehicle Miles Traveled

"Vehicle miles traveled" (VMT) is a measure of how many miles all the cars, trucks, and other vehicles on the road travel collectively. It helps us understand how much driving is happening in a specific area or over a period. VMT is relevant to climate change because if we can reduce the amount of miles traveled by vehicle, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. 

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a measurement that estimates the total amount of miles each vehicle within a certain area travels within a given period of time. VMTVehicle Miles Traveled
Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a measurement that estimates the total amount of miles each vehicle within a certain area travels within a given period of time. VMTVehicle Miles Traveled
a row of bikes at a bike stand
photo of a samtrans bus

Emissions from Transportation

Reducing Our VMTs

The first and best option when it comes to living sustainably is to reduce. Whether that's consumption, waste, or in this case, the amount of vehicle miles traveled. There are a number of ways you can reduce VMTs such as:

  • Carpooling when possible
  • Taking public transit
  • Walking and biking
  • Living close to where you work / working from home when possible

Driving to San Francisco, for example, is about 60 miles round trip. If everyone in Atherton reduced their monthly VMT by 60 miles through the use of transit or carpooling, we would save over 5 million VMTs per year! That's a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with the 2019 emissions from gasoline powered vehicles. 

Low angle closeup of elderly senior woman riding recumbent tricycle e-bike on a path on a sunny day beside a lake

Did You Know?

E-bikes are a great alternative to personal vehicles. There are many different models available now and CalBike is working on an e-bike incentive program. Sign up for information on the program's progress so you can take advantage of the savings!

CalBike E-Bike Purchase Incentives

Electric Vehicles

Why Switch to Electric Vehicles

Sometimes it doesn't make sense to bike, carpool, or take transit to our destinations. If a personal vehicle is necessary, then an electric vehicle (EV) is the better fuel source than gasoline powered. 

EVs produce fewer harmful emissions, which can help improve air quality and reduce health problems caused by pollution. They are more energy-efficient, meaning they can travel more miles on the same amount of energy compared to gasoline cars, which can save money and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Using electricity for transportation can be more sustainable if we generate that electricity from clean sources like wind or solar power. Overall, transitioning to EVs can help combat climate change and create a cleaner, more sustainable future.

close up of a charger in an EV

Electric Vehicles

Reaching Our Targets

As of 2021, 13% of registered vehicles in Atherton are electric or hybrid electric vehicles. In order to meet our emissions reduction targets, we need 50% of vehicles to be EVs by 2030 and 100% by 2045. Will you be the next car owner to help us reach our targets?

2021 EVs

= 13%

2021 Non-EVs

= 87%

Electric Vehicles

Local Charging Stations

Since 2013, a total of 182 EV Charger permits have been issued for home installations. But this is for Level 2 charging. Did you know you can charge an EV on a regular outlet? Plug it in at night and when you wake up, you'll have a full charge. 

You can also take advantage of one of the many charging stations in San Mateo County. Using a tool like Plugshare, you can also plan a road trip or longer drive to make sure you can find a fast charging station along the way. 

an EV plugged into a home charging station in a garage

Electric Vehicles

Charging at Home - Electric Rates

One of the biggest benefits of an EV is you don't have to go to a station to fuel up. Anywhere you have access to electricity is a fuel source. You can even bring your charger to a friend's house and charge up while you're visiting - though you might want to ask first! 

There are multiple options for installing an EV charger at home. You can use a typical wall outlet that is at least 110V and charge your vehicle that way. If you need to charge many miles in a short amount of time, you can install a Level 2 charger at home which requires at least 240V. And the Level 3 chargers are typically available in commercial areas and are a great public option. 

When deciding which charging station to use at home, consult with this great resource from PG&E. Make sure to pay special attention to the Level 2 Installation Checklist where Step 2 discusses the different rates you can choose from for your home electricity service. 

What You Can Do

Moving Sustainably in Atherton

Transportation activities make up a significant portion of our greenhouse gas emissions. By switching to an electric vehicle or even better - using public transit - we can reach out emissions reduction goals!

Buy an electric vehicle or install a charger at home
Take the Commuter Challenge
two children on a scooter

Credit: Leo Leung - 4/22/2023