$78 million in new taxes to pay for carbon reduction proposed

By Guy Page

The state of Vermont should tax fossil fuels to fund carbon reduction programs required by carbon reduction mandates, a Jan. 15 report by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recommends. Estimated annual revenue from three proposed revenue sources would total $78 million.

“Vermont is falling far short of its climate goals in the heating and transportation sectors, which represent the vast majority of our greenhouse gas emissions and the greatest cost burden for Vermont households,” the PUC report said. “Without a stable, sizable stream of public funding in those two sectors, Vermont will not meet its carbon-reduction commitments.”

The Public Utility Commission, the state’s ‘Energy Court,’ was directed by the Legislature to consider a new ‘all-fuels’ energy efficiency utility to do for thermal heat what Efficiency Vermont does for electricity: help Vermonters conserve energy through weatherization and other means. The PUC passed on that idea but did recommend raising revenue by taxing fossil fuels in three different ways:

  • $20-40 million annual revenue from the regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI). This multi-state initiative would charge fuel wholesalers for ‘carbon pollution clean-up.’ The wholesalers would then pass this cost along to vehicle operators when they pull up to the gas or diesel pump.
  • Up to $18 million annually from a Thermal Efficiency Benefit Charge on the sale of fuel oil, propane, and kerosene.
  • $20 million from an eight-cent fuel tax increase.

The PUC report promises increased weatherization and transition to an electrified transportation will save Vermonters money in the long run. The Vermont Fuel Dealers Association seems less optimistic, especially with the likely impact on rural Vermonters heavily dependent on fossil fuels for heat and transportation.

“Vermont lawmakers should not support the regressive taxation of energy needed to heat our homes and power our vehicles,” a VFDA statement said. “Given that rural Vermonters depend on these fuels the most, these taxes will have the effect of taking from the poor and giving to the rich as the taxes paid by all will provide incentives for Vermonters with means to purchase new electric vehicles and heaters.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org

10 thoughts on “$78 million in new taxes to pay for carbon reduction proposed

  1. The GWSA Committee of 23 appointees have some things in common.
    They do not represent Vermonters
    They all more or less agree with each other, which must be very comforting.

    The only problem is, GWSA was railroaded through by Dem/Progs to benefit Vermont RE companies, without meaningful input from REAL Vermonters, because Committee folks have agreed they know what is good for Vermonters.


    This article explains such a government-subsidized industrial development approach would make all of us worse off, and would absolutely kill the non-RE sectors of the Vermont economy.



    This article describes the efficiency of electric vehicles, EVs, and their charging loss, when charging at home and on-the-road, and the economics, when compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    EVs are designed to be aero-dynamic, and to have low rolling resistance, efficient drive trains, and efficient batteries. This will minimize vehicle weight and maximize range. Tesla is the industry leader regarding efficient EVs.

    Any economic analysis must include the amortizing of the difference in capital cost of EVs and equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicles.

    Any CO2 reduction analysis must be the difference of the CO2 emissions of an EV and an equivalent, efficient gasoline vehicle, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis

    It is important to assess the cost and operating impacts of large-scale use of EVs on electricity generation, grid capacity and energy storage capacity, on an A-to Z basis.

    This article has six parts and an Appendix.


    Real-World Concerns About the Economics of EVs

    This article describes in detail why it may not be such a good idea to have a proliferation of EVs, because of:

    1) Their high initial capital costs; about 50% greater than equivalent gasoline vehicles.
    2) The widespread high-speed charging facilities required for charging “on the road”.
    3) The loss of valuable time when charging “on the road”.
    4) The high cost of charging/kWh, plus exorbitant penalties, when charging “on-the-road”.

    High-Mileage Hybrids a Much Better Alternative Than EVs

    The Toyota Prius, and Toyota Prius plug-in, which get up to 54 mpg, EPA combined, would:

    1) Have much less annual owning and operating costs than any EV, for at least the next 10 years
    2) Have minimal wait-times, as almost all such plug-ins would be charging at home
    3) Be less damaging to the environment, because their batteries would have very low capacity, kWh
    4) Impose much less of an additional burden on the electric grids.

    Hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, save about the same amount of CO₂ as electric cars over their lifetime, plus:

    1) They are cost competitive with gasoline vehicles, even without subsidies.
    2) They have none of the EV downsides, such as:

    – Not requiring EV chargers,
    – Not inducing range anxiety
    – Refilling in minutes, instead of hours.

    3) Climate change does not care about where CO₂ comes from.
    Gasoline cars are only about 7% of global CO2 emissions,
    Replacing them with electric cars would only help a little. See table and Part Five

    “Electrify Everything”, an easily uttered slogan

    It would require:

    – Additional electricity generation plants, such as nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro
    – Additional grid augmentation/expansion to carry increased loads for future EVs and heat pumps
    – Additional battery systems to store the midday solar electricity surges for later use, aka, DUCK-curve management.
    – Major command/control-orchestrating of:

    1) Charging times and duration of EVs, and
    2) Operating times of major appliances, and
    3) Control of electricity demands of commercial/industrial businesses, to avoid overloading distribution and high voltage electric grids.

    New England Poor Wind and Solar Conditions: New England has the worst wind conditions, except for the US South, and the worst solar conditions, except for the rainy Seattle area.

    “Electrify everything” would be a major challenge just to figure out (never mind the cost and environmental impact of implementing it), how all this would actually be working during:

    1) Five to seven-day periods, when both wind and solar are minimal (such periods occur at random throughout the year), and
    2) Multi-day periods of cold weather, 0 F or less, with snow and ice on solar panels, while electricity demands of heat pumps and EVs would be maximal.

    Comments on Table

    The table shows the CO2 emissions for four vehicles on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis.
    The table clearly shows higher-mileage gasoline and hybrid vehicles have CO2 emissions comparable with equivalent EVs.
    It was assumed 20% of charging would be on the road and 80% at home.
    The Model Y kWh/mile values were prorated from real-world Model 3 values. See Part Three

  2. It started way back in the 70’s and the same incorrect info is still being fed to us by the same type of genius’s now…
    Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

    1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

    3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

    6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

    8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

    9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

    10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

    11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

    12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

    13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

    14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

    16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

    17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

    18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

  3. Have any of these brain on drugs reports figured out when
    everyone has a plug in car and fossil fuel is banned with only
    inefficient wind and unreliable solar to power the masses of autos
    where will all get the power?? China? Russia? or
    maybe we can have ration cards like during Carters failed presidency
    We seem to be moving faster to de fossil then we are to provide their choice of power that will meet the needs..

  4. “Vermont is falling far short of its climate goals…” – Anyone with a lick of sense knows that Vermont has no way of determining what the climate will do or how much anything man can do will affect it, making “Climate goals” an absurdity. Remember the nineteen seventies impending ice age? Florida is still above water, it has snowed in London, the Antarctic sea ice is growing and the AGW cabal got their ship stuck in the ice down there. If what they mean is taxing Vermonters to lower their standard of living and hurt those struggling economically, say so.

  5. Today, John Kerry, Biden’s Climate Czar, admitted that the United States even with zero emissions cannot stop climate change…….There have been a hand full of commenters on the TNR and other sites who have been saying this for years…….The response from the Vermont Legislature and Climate advocates has been ridicule and name calling…….Shameful ignorance and arrogance from the from the people who brought Vermont the Global Warming Solutions Act.

    Before the Governor and his team at the Public Utilities Commission press ahead with the recommendation to raise taxes on Vermonters to reduce carbon, they may want to stop and reconsider that they’re proposing.

    See John Kerry comments:


  6. “$78 million in new taxes to pay for carbon reduction proposed”

    1) $20-40 million annual revenue from the regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI).



    2) Up to $18 million annually from a Thermal Efficiency Benefit Charge on the sale of fuel oil, propane, and kerosene.


    3) $20 million from an eight-cent fuel tax increase.


    Here are some disturbing revelations regarding heat pumps and electric vehicles.


    This article describes the efficiency of electric vehicles, EVs, and their charging loss, when charging at home and on-the-road, and the economics, when compared with efficient gasoline vehicles.

    Any economic analysis must include the amortizing of the difference in capital cost of EVs and equivalent gasoline vehicles.

    Any CO2 reduction analysis must be the difference of the CO2 emissions of an EV and an equivalent gasoline vehicle, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis

    This article shows, increasing the use of high-mileage vehicles, such as hybrids, and getting gas-guzzlers off the road (which need not involve any government subsidies), would reduce CO2 at much less cost per vehicle, than would the government-subsidized replacement of light duty vehicles with EVs.

    The table show the total cost of owning and operating three vehicles.
    The Kona is not nearly as versatile as the Subaru and the Tesla for New England conditions, especially in rural areas.
    The difference in vehicle purchase cost was amortized at 3.5% for 10 years. Subsidies were omitted.
    For CO2 see Appendix 2

    EV cost/mile and CO2/mile Electricity cost Amortize cost difference Total cost CO2 CO2
    c/mile————————– c/mile——-c/mile—–Mt/y—-g/mile
    Kona, no AWD 2.529——-239
    Cost, on-the-road charging————————————–8.39—————————–12.3——-20.69
    Cost, at-home charging——————————————5.98—————————–12.3——-18.28
    Model Y, AWD————————————————————————————————————–3.024——286
    Cost, on-the-road charging————————————–9.37—————————–26.1——-35.47
    Cost, at-home charging——————————————7.04—————————–26.1——-33.14
    Subaru, Outback, AWD—————————————————————————————————-4.302——407
    Gasoline vehicle; 30 mpg—————————————-7.33———————————0———7.33

    Heat Pumps in my Vermont House are Money Losers

    My annual electricity consumption increased about 50%, after I installed three 24,000 Btu/h heat pumps for heating and cooling my, well-sealed/well-insulated house. They displaced a fraction of my propane consumption.

    My existing propane system, 95%-efficient in condensing mode, is used on cold days, 10 F or less, because heat pumps would have low efficiencies, i.e., low Btu/kWh.

    There were no energy cost savings, because of high household electric rates, augmented with taxes, fees and surcharges.
    Amortizing the $24,000 capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years would be $2,059/y.
    There likely will be service calls and parts, as the years go by, in addition to service calls and parts for the existing propane system.
    I received a 10% subsidy.

    Government Electric Vehicle and Heat Pump Mandates

    Subsidies do not just disappear. They would be charged to others, and/or would be added to government debts.

    Celebrating energy cost savings, and ignoring amortizing costs, and having minimal CO2 reduction (see section after Example 3), is like living a fantasy.

    Governments mandating hundreds of $billions be spent on such poor investments, as part of climate-change fighting,
    meeting Paris”, etc., would impoverish the US people, and make the US less competitive on world markets. See URLs.


    • You are very accurate, but there is more. With the higher cost of fuel, the cost to deliver groceries to the store, propane or fuel oil to your house, the cost for these will also increase. There should be NO laws or regulations on any basic expenses like Food and heating a Vermont home….
      These idiots that come up with theses hairbrained schemes should not be involved with any government process…
      I remember back in the 70’s, the “experts” predicted that because of global warming the ice bergs are going to melt and the sea level is going to rise more that 10′ and flood all the coastal cities… Well that NEVER happened..

  7. The Commissioner of the Vermont Public Utilities Commission who is hired by and works for the Governor recommends in the report to the legislature:

    “Gradually increase the fuel tax to benefit more low-income Vermonters.”

    This looks like placing the frog in cool water and gradually increasing the heat method of cooking frogs…….. The result in the end is a dead frog…….Get ready low-income Vermonters, the Governor’s team is proposing to slow cook you……Slow cooking is so humanitarian and it also includes middle-income Vermonters who will be in the same pot being cooked by the Governor and his team.

    All to advance a carbon reduction program that will do nothing to mitigate global warming……Or put another way, would you invest your own money in an initiative that will return zero to you in the end?

    • How does increasing the fuel tax slowly, quickly or all at once benefit low income Vermonters? Or anyone else outside government?

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