In the U.S., a small percentage of drivers produce a disproportionate amount of global warming pollution.

“The top 10% of drivers in terms of their gasoline consumption were using about a third of all the gasoline,” says Janelle London of Coltura, a nonprofit that advocates for electric vehicle adoption.

Her team analyzed nationwide data about people’s driving habits. She says many so-called gasoline superusers drive a lot because they have to.

“They are generally people who are having to commute long distances because they can’t afford to live near where they work,” London says. “Most gasoline superusers are low- to middle-income. And so what that means is they are spending a large percent of their household income on gasoline.”

So London’s group pushes for policies that would increase electric vehicle incentives to low-income, high-mileage drivers. In California, one such policy is making its way through the state legislature.

She says helping gasoline superusers make the switch to EVs could have an outsized benefit on climate and provide financial savings for some of those who need it most.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media