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.

 

  • Testimony on Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Legislation

    Acadia Center testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy on May 30, 2019. In its testimony it urged Massachusetts legislators to support efficient electrification of building heating, new standards to promote innovative energy saving appliances, better information on energy efficiency for homebuyers, and requirements for existing buildings to become more efficient. It also called for them to oppose or require modification of two bills that could harm the state's energy efficiency programs and their implementation.

  • Testimony on Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard

    Acadia Center's testimony urges DOER to withdraw proposed changes to the RPS that would undermine the state's climate efforts, including allowing energy sources that emit more CO2, like biomass, to participate and relaxing accountability measures that track emissions reductions. Acadia Center testified and submitted its statement to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources on May 13, 2019.

  • National Grid Rate Case: Summary of Issues and Call to Action

    In this memo, Acadia Center outlines key issues the public should be aware of in National Grid's comprehensive electric rate case, filed in late 2018. Acadia Center addresses concerns related to high revenue and shareholder returns, inadequate requirements in "performance based ratemaking," misaligned rates, and proposed electric vehicle charging programs. The last section summarizes opportunities for the public to weigh in and take action in the proceeding, which will have far-reaching implications for Massachusetts' clean energy future.

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