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.

 

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Consumption in New England

    Some entities and stakeholders have raised concerns about the environmental performance of the regional electricity system during a particularly cold multi-week period in December 2017 and January 2018. To better inform recent public discussions around these regional energy and climate issues, as well as potential policy solutions, Acadia Center has compiled and analyzed available data on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, electricity generation, and fuel consumption in the New England region, with conclusions presented in this fact sheet.

  • Joint Statement on Eversource Rate Case in Massachusetts

    In January 2017, Eversource filed its first complete rate case in many years. After a lengthy proceeding, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved four major proposals from Eversource that are bad for ratepayers and move us away from a future with consumer control and widespread local clean energy. The endorsers of this letter support efforts to undo these counterproductive decisions in 2018 and urge the Massachusetts Legislature to ensure that similar steps are not taken in the future.

  • RGGI’s Role in New Hampshire

    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has now been in effect for nine years in New Hampshire and the numbers tell a clear story: RGGI has produced substantial benefits—not just for the environment—but for the economy, the workforce, and public health. This fact sheet details the benefits New Hampshire has secured from RGGI since the program began.

  • View all related resources