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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    Next Generation Solar Framework

    Across the United States, a debate is underway about the proper way to design electricity rates in order to provide fair compensation for local solar generation. Acadia Center’s analysis shows that the value of solar energy to electric ratepayers is actually greater than the compensation provided to solar generation through retail rate net metering, the currently predominant method of compensation through rates. However, as the amount of local solar grows over time, reforms to solar compensation methods will be needed. To foster a fairer and more effective way to incorporate local solar into the electric system, Acadia Center developed a forward-looking and broadly applicable solar compensation model, the Next Generation Solar Framework. This solar framework can be further adapted to other forms of local generation as well.

  • Joint Comments on MA Utilities Gas Procurement Cover Page

    Joint Comments on Massachusetts’ Utilities Gas Procurement

    Joint letter by Acadia Center and clean energy developers calling for fair consideration of alternatives to natural gas in meeting the region’s electricity needs. The letter is written in response to a Request for Proposals by Eversource and National Grid seeking bids only from providers of liquefied natural gas, regional gas storage, and pipeline expansion projects. Eversource and National Grid are participants in at least one project that could qualify for contracts; the pipeline expansion and storage project Access Northeast. The letter calls for redrafting of the RFP to allow for participation of lower cost and lower risk clean energy options to meet the region’s clean energy needs.

  • Acadia Center Carbon Pricing Testimony Cover

    Acadia Center Testimony in Support of Carbon Pricing Bills S.1747, S.1786 and S.1748

    Acadia Center testimony supporting bills S.1747 and S.1786 as key proposals to decarbonize the Massachusetts economy and address the threat of climate change. Additionally, the testimony supports S.1748 to establish statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements for 2030.

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