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.

Electrification

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.

 

  • Joint Letter to Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Regarding Docket 17-01-12

    Seventeen organizations signed a letter to encourage the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to develop a generic formula for the residential fixed charge that remains consistent with the outcome of the recent United Illuminating electric rate case---in which the residential fixed charge was cut by 45%---and that also does not deviate from the limited scope of eligible costs defined in Connecticut’s 2015 residential fixed charge statute. The letter outlines how lowering fixed charges will benefit a majority of residential customers, particularly low-income and low-usage customers.

  • Initial Comments on Scope of Millstone Study in Response to Executive Order No. 59

    Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority requested comments on the scope of their study of the Millstone Power Station. Acadia Center advocates that the study should develop a robust and transparent modeling approach that includes a base case representative of current trends and procurements, as well as sensitivities to different penetration levels of various demand-side technologies, clean energy resources, and commitments under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

  • Distributed Solar in Connecticut’s Draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy

    Reforms proposed in Connecticut's 2017 draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy appear to raise significant new challenges to distributed solar deployment. Distributed solar must play a key role in reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions, and these proposed changes put its climate mitigation role at real risk. In this report, Acadia Center raises four high priority concerns that the state must resolve through revisions to the strategy.

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