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.

 

  • Comments to the Draft of the 2021-2023 New Hampshire Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan

    Comments in response to the NH Electric and Natural Gas Utilities Draft of the 2021-2023 New Hampshire Statewide Energy Efficiency Plan (submitted for stakeholder review on July 1, 2020). NH Utilities made significant revisions in scope, savings, timeline, process, and program details based on the COVID-19 pandemic as well as incorporation of public and EERS (Energy Efficiency Resource Standard) Committee comments on the April 1 Draft Plan. Acadia Center’s comments are based on examination of the Draft 2021-2023 NH Plan, its analyses and reports on energy efficiency programs across the Northeast region, and conversations and deliberations within the EERS Committee.

  • Priority Climate Action Plan Strategy Recommendations

    Priority Climate Action Plan Strategy Recommendations

    This open letter to the Maine Climate Council (signed by Acadia Center and other organizations), describes the top 13 policy recommendations, pulled from every Working Group and more than 650 pages of materials, which the signatories believe are the most impactful strategies for reducing Maine's emissions.

  • The Declining Role of Natural Gas Power in New England

    This report concludes that under current plans and laws, New England’s reliance on natural gas to fuel power plants could drop from 45% to approximately 10% of its electricity needs in 2030, making any investment in new gas pipelines or plants unnecessary and therefore costly.

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