Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 27;13(1):6400. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33666-2.
Shared cars will likely have larger annual vehicle driving distances than individually owned cars. This may accelerate passenger car retirement. Here we develop a semi-empirical lifetime-driving intensity model using statistics on Swedish vehicle retirement. This semi-empirical model is integrated with a carbon footprint model, which considers future decarbonization pathways. In this work, we show that the carbon footprint depends on the cumulative driving distance, which depends on both driving intensity and calendar aging. Higher driving intensities generally result in lower carbon footprints due to increased cumulative driving distance over the vehicle’s lifetime. Shared cars could decrease the carbon footprint by about 41% in 2050, if one shared vehicle replaces ten individually owned vehicles. However, potential empty travel by autonomous shared vehicles-the additional distance traveled to pick up passengers-may cause carbon footprints to increase. Hence, vehicle durability and empty travel should be considered when designing low-carbon car sharing systems.