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.

 

  • Acadia Center Evaluation of 2019-2021 MA Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan and EEAC Resolution

    On October 30, 2018, the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) unanimously approved a resolution supporting the utility program administrators’ proposed Three-Year Plan for 2019-2021. In its role as the environmental representative on the EEAC, Acadia Center successfully represented stakeholder priorities and pushed for the 2019-2021 Plan to innovate, better use technology, help customers switch from polluting oil to clean, efficient heat pumps, and cut electric and gas peak demand in summer and winter. Now the Plan moves to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for consideration and approval by the end of January 2019.

  • Acadia Center Evaluation of the Sept. 14 Draft of the 2019-2021 MA Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan

    In Massachusetts, energy efficiency is delivered primarily through utility-run programs, overseen by the Department of Public Utilities with the assistance of a stakeholder council called the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC), on which Acadia Center holds the environmental representative seat.

    Throughout 2018, the EEAC, efficiency program administrators (PAs), and other stakeholders have been engaged in a process to develop a 3-year plan for 2019-2021. This is Acadia Center’s analysis of the September 14th Revised Draft submitted by the PAs. This document discusses key shortcomings that must be addressed in advance of the October vote. Acadia Center is hopeful that these improvements will be reflected in the final plan.

  • Transportation Climate Policy in Rhode Island

    Rhode Island’s transportation system—its network of highways, trains, public transit, airports, ports, and walking and biking corridors—is vital to the state’s economy. It facilitates the movement of goods and connects people to jobs, shopping, recreation, and other services. However, the system needs critical improvements to address major challenges and better serve the state’s communities and businesses.

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