Top representatives from vehicle manufacturers and utilities are joining forces to find ways to cut the U.S. transportation system's energy use in half by 2050.

The Alliance to Save Energy, a 40-year-old organization focused on energy efficiency policies, is announcing the new group today and calling it the “50 by 50” Commission. Co-chaired by Audi of America President Scott Keogh and National Grid U.S. President Dean Seavers, the project aims to produce a report within a year outlining recommendations for the federal government, automakers, cities and infrastructure providers to curb emissions holistically.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto (D) and Fort Worth, Texas, Mayor Betsy Price (R) — along with other leaders from utilities, environmental groups, infrastructure providers, manufacturers and public transit — have signed on.

The meetings between high-level industry and advocacy representatives will tackle issues including the rise of new transportation technologies like automation and car-sharing, in addition to longer-standing trends like electrification and fuel efficiency.

“It came out of looking at the gap that we believed existed in terms of a national conversation on not just electrification, and not just autonomous vehicles, but how do you take this convergence of all these wonderful things that are happening and make sure no one's left out of the change, and that it results in important benefits as a nation as whole,” said Kateri Callahan, the president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

Transportation represents around a third of the country's energy use and emissions. Low gas prices and a growing population are making that rise.

Callahan said the idea for putting those involved in a mobility revolution in the same room to talk about efficiency came about a year ago from conversations with Energy Department staffers. The Energy Foundation provided some dedicated funding. Members will contribute their own technical staff.

“We're going to be dramatically increasing our electric vehicle and our [zero emissions vehicle] fleet, we'll go from 2015 with basically no vehicles with a plug to 2025 when at least 25 percent of every car we sell in the U.S. will be electric, either plug-in hybrid or full battery,” said Brad Stertz, the director of Audi government affairs. “We really wanted to be aggressive or involved in making sure the infrastructure is correct and the overall ecosystem will be allowed to transition into far more electric.”

The group will prepare technical recommendations for five subsectors: light-duty vehicles, non-road, heavy-duty and freight vehicles, infrastructure, and shared mobility and automation.

Members met for the first time Friday.

Among the 19 commissioners are Tom Kuhn, the president of Edison Electric Institute, the main trade group for utilities; Mark McNabb, the CEO of Electrify America, the Volkswagen subsidiary putting money from its diesel scandal towards electric vehicle charging infrastructure; Dan Turton, the vice president of North America public policy for General Motors Co.; and Johney Green, the associate lab director at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at