NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut has now signed on to a regional effort to reduce pollution from cars and trucks. The idea is to significantly reduce carbon emissions over the next 12 years.
This was initially supposed to involve a lot of eastern states. Right now, it is just Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, DC. All four are now part of this cap and trade plan for carbon released by automobiles.
Although some say that is just a fancy way to say there’s a new gas tax.
State officials say without changes, temperatures will rise, rainstorms and snowstorms will get worse, and the risk of drought will go up. Also, pollution means health concerns, especially in urban areas.
Here’s how they suggest lowering greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles: The companies that sell gasoline and diesel in Connecticut will pay the state in advance for the carbon dioxide each ton of fuel will release into the atmosphere once it is burned in a car or truck. The thing they buy is called an “allowance,” and it can be bought directly or traded on a secondary market. So, the total amount of allowances will be capped, that cap will gradually be lowered, and allowances can be traded. Those fuel companies will, of course, pass that cost along to customers. So, the cost of gasoline and diesel would go up.
The Governor says it will be worth it to clean up the air, but the Energy Marketers Association says the price will be too high.
Governor Lamont said, “38% of all the pollutants, greenhouse-related particulates, come out of the transportation sector. We have to deal with that head-on, and I want to deal with that in a way that is A: effective, and B: doesn’t put Connecticut at a competitive disadvantage.”
President of CT Energy Marketers Assoc. Chris Herb said, “In year one, it could cost consumers up to 38 cents per gallon at the pump, and by the time it’s fully implemented, according to a Tufts University study that came out just a few weeks ago, it could ultimately cost 61 cents a gallon if calculated at the maximum.”
House Republican Leader-elect Vin Candelora released a statement that “Signing on to a plan that would have people pay more to drive shows a lack of understanding about just how much people are hurting right now.”
Meanwhile, the Energy Marketers Assoc. says auto emissions are trending down anyway. The money collected could be used for anything. Even if it is used for subsidizing electric cars or adding charging stations, which are mostly used by wealthier people, poor people are going to end up paying for them with this gas tax.
Monday afternoon Governor Lamont’s press director told News 8, this is “not a gas tax…It’s a regional cap and trade plan. There is no gas tax proposal and there won’t be one for TCI.”