Cutting Emissions from Transportation

The transportation sector is the second largest source of U.S. GHG emissions, responsible for 28% of emissions nationally, and nearly 40% in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Transportation fuels, notably gasoline and diesel, must be priced in a way that reflects the cost of these emissions, either through a carbon tax or the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which currently regulates power plant emissions.

Acadia Center is working to change policies so they account for the full lifecycle of the greenhouse gas emissions fuels produce. Gasoline refined from tar sands, for example, has very high extraction emissions. Several different policies could address these upstream emissions, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program in California. The LCFS sets targets for lowering the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels and allows the market to determine the most cost-effective fuels and strategies for achieving those targets. A good initial step would be to require tracking and reporting by oil importers and wholesalers to allow states to determine how their fuel supplies are changing and what the best policy answer is.


Acadia Center is also advancing solutions to help reduce the upfront cost of electric vehicles (EVs), build out charging infrastructure and educate consumers on the benefits of EVs. It is possible to dramatically increase the adoption of EVs over the next few years.

Electrification of the vehicle fleet is one of the key pathways to cleaning up the transportation sector. Switching from a traditional car burning gasoline to a fully electric vehicle can reduce GHG emissions by 60% in the Northeast. As cleaner sources power the electric grid, these benefits will increase. In addition, vehicles running on electricity don’t emit any of the local pollutants that come from gas engines.

EVs save money, too. Switching from gasoline to electricity can cut per-mile costs significantly and allow consumers to spend more of their hard-earned dollars in local economies. Time-of-use rates will allow EV owners to save even more money by charging at night when the cost of generating electricity is low.

To seize the opportunity of EVs, the top priorities are to explore and address potential impacts on the power grid and maximize the ability of EVs to serve as a grid resource.


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    Letter to the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change

    This letter was submitted by Acadia Center to the Governor's Council on Climate Change (GC3). With greenhouse gas emissions increasing since 2012, Connecticut must act quickly to meet its mandatory 2020 emissions cap. Acadia Center proposes three short-term mitigation strategies that Connecticut could pursue almost immediately to reverse the current emissions trend: electrification of building heating and vehicles, increased solar PV deployment, and expanded energy efficiency.

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    Coalition Letter to CT’s Public Utilities Reglatory Authority on Residential Fixed Charges

    In the current United Illuminating (UI) rate case, sixteen national and regional organizations urge Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to reduce the fixed charge, or monthly basic service charge, currently paid by residential customers of UI. The supporting organizations represent a diverse coalition, including consumer groups protecting low income and vulnerable ratepayers, solar, storage, and energy efficiency businesses, and public interest organizations fighting for cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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    Status of Connecticut’s “Lead by Example” Energy Efficiency Program for State Buildings

    Connecticut’s “Lead by Example” (LBE) energy efficiency program does not appear to be on track to reach its mandatory goal of a 20% reduction in energy use in state buildings by 2018. The General Assembly established the LBE program in 2011 to reduce costly energy waste in state buildings, lower the state’s significant operating expense for energy use, and make the state a model for energy efficiency and sustainability. This report finds that mandatory annual reporting for the LBE plan originally filed in 2012 has not been submitted by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as required by law. This apparent failure to report severely hampers any attempt to review and evaluate the effectiveness of the LBE program’s performance.

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