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.

Policies need to account for the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of fuels. Gasoline refined from tar sands, for example, has very high extraction emissions. A policy like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program in California could address these upstream emissions. This type of policy sets targets for lowering the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels and allow the market to determine the most cost-effective fuels and strategies for achieving those targets.


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 by about one-half 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. Acadia Center is also advancing solutions to help 1) reduce the upfront cost of EVs; 2) build out charging infrastructure; and 3) educate consumers on the benefits of EVs. It is possible to dramatically increase the adoption of EVs over the next few years.

  • AcadiaCenter_Chart_CTResFixedChargeScenarios

    CT Fixed Electric Charge Impact Analysis May 2015

    New Analysis Shows that Capping the Fixed Electric Charge at $10 Will Lower the Majority of Monthly Bills for Eversource Energy’s Residential Customers

  • Eversource CT Residential Fixed Charge Public Materials and Rate Case Testimony

    Eversource CT Residential Fixed Charge Public Materials and Rate Case Testimony

    Information provided by Eversource Energy. Rate case testimony from September 2014. Email and Handout to legislators regarding proposed $10 fixed charge cap before the Senate of the CT General Assembly in May 2015. See also Acadia Center analysis (link below)

  • Escalating New England Transmission Costs and the Need for Policy Reforms

    Escalating New England Transmission Costs and the Need for Policy Reforms

    Transmission policy should coordinate with the advances states are making in furthering efficiency and demand side energy solutions. It should incorporate efforts to help consumers use energy more efficiently, embrace the exciting potential offered by new energy technologies and the need to increase our reliance on clean, renewable power and other distributed resources. The grid of the past – and the outdated process used to determine new investments – must change if we are to have a system that can take the northeast into a competitive economic future and a clean, low carbon energy era.

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