Update On Regional Transportation Climate Initiative In PA; Op-Ed By PPA
For the past year, PPA has been engaged in a campaign opposing the inclusion of Pennsylvania in the proposed regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) that would cover 12 northeast and mid-atlantic states.
TCI would impose a carbon cap and trade program on the sale of gasoline and on road diesel in participating states.
The Georgetown Climate Center has been facilitating discussions of this plan with the Governors of the states.
It has been reported that the decision by Governors whether to have their states join TCI would be made in December of this year.
In late October, PPA was successful in securing a Zoom meeting with DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, that also included several top deputies, to describe the reasons for our opposition.
PPA also contacted Gov. Wolf directly on this issue.
In addition, key state Senate and House members have been educated on the issue.
Op-Ed On TCI
The following letter by PPA President Mike McCarthy (Shipley Energy) appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News (PennLive) on December 9 detailing our position on TCI.
It will be news to many Pennsylvanians that serious discussions are going on in the state about a significant increase in the tax on gasoline and on-road diesel.
Called the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), this effort has as its goal the formation of a compact agreement among northeastern states to agree to implement a carbon cap and trade program on transportation fuels.
The idea is to address climate change by increasing fuel prices and making electric vehicles a more attractive alternative.
The plan would require petroleum companies to buy credits that would allow them to sell motor fuel over a cap established by the states.
While limiting gas emissions is a laudable goal, there is no way to enact TCI without increasing prices at the pump for Pennsylvanians.
The initial estimate from TCI itself is that this requirement would add 17 cents a gallon to fuels. In addition, a recent Tuft’s University study projects a potential 38-cent-a-gallon gas increase and a separate study projects a 52-cent-a-gallon increase in diesel fuel.
Pennsylvanians already pay the second highest fuel taxes in the nation.
Revenue to the state generated by this plan would likely go toward rebates for purchasing electric vehicles and development of a recharging infrastructure. Not something most Pennsylvanians would benefit from now or in the near future.
Many other states have also suggested a significant portion of this money could be used for urban mass transit funding.
If adopted in Pennsylvania, this would be a de facto tax — and a regressive one at that.
Millions of Pennsylvanians would be forced to bear the brunt of this cost. It would particularly hit hard on those in rural areas who drive long distances to work, for medical care or to purchase life necessities.
A time of pandemic and slow economic recovery from it is not the time to add this kind of burden to consumers and businesses.
This new carbon tax on fuel will cost people more but reduce revenue for roads and bridges – which even electric cars need.
It has been reported that the governors in the Northeast states are scheduled to decide soon on whether to join TCI.
The Pennsylvania Petroleum Association respectfully urges Governor Tom Wolf to hold off on joining TCI, as some other governors involved have suggested.
It is our hope that our state pauses on a decision until we see what the plans are of the incoming Biden Administration. The new president will address climate change from a national perspective.
This TCI regional approach would make our Pennsylvania economy an island. Going forward with a TCI plan that brings with it a tax increase is not what businesses or Pennsylvanians need, especially now.