D.C., 3 Northeast States Agree to Climate Pact

The retail fuel industry urges Connecticut, D.C., Massachusetts and Rhode Island to reconsider joining the TCI.

December 22, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia said yesterday they have agreed to participate in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to sign onto the regional cap-and-invest program.

Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia also are in negotiations to join the Northeast program.

NACS, along with NATSO, which represents the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, encouraged the Northeastern states to reconsider the regional TCI and instead focus on climate change policies that will achieve more meaningful environmental benefits without imposing exorbitant costs on low- and middle-income Americans.

“The retail fuels industry is encouraged by policymakers who take seriously the threat of climate change and craft policy designed to mitigate the threat for all Americans,” the groups said in a joint statement. “The retail fuels industry has been active, productive advocates for clean fuel policies for more than a decade. We know what types policies result in greater consumption of alternative fuels, and what types policies do not. The TCI program, as currently constructed, will not work. The program will result in higher costs without any meaningful environmental benefit. These higher costs will be most acutely felt by the Northeast region’s low-income communities. There are more effective ways to commercialize alternative fuel technologies. We hope to be productive participants in future TCI discussions.”

In a letter sent last week to Kathleen Theoharides, chair of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the groups said that TCI:

  • Injects substantial pricing and administrative complexities into the retail fuels market, without making alternative fuels, including electricity, more desirable for consumers; 
  • Increases fuel prices and places a regressive tax upon low-income Americans, who spend a far greater percentage of their income on energy needs; 
  • Intensifies the economic uncertainty and hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the price that consumers will pay for fuel and ultimately increasing household spending during a time of unprecedented job losses and diminished GDP. 

TCI is a regional compact with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. It would create a cap-and-invest program that would place limits on carbon emissions from gasoline and diesel and require suppliers of the fuels to buy credits to sell them. Revenues are supposed to be used to fund mass transit, electric vehicle charging and other clean transportation options.