wake of the Biden administration restoring
California's authority to set vehicle emission
standards more stringent than federal rules,
Massachusetts is poised to follow that state into a
ban on new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035,
potentially setting the stage for the next big fight
over how to meet state climate goals.
Massachusetts is one of 16 states that tie
themselves to California's vehicle emission
standards, a policy first adopted in 1991 under the
Massachusetts Clean Air Act that ensures the state
has among the most stringent anti-pollution
regulations on new cars and trucks in the country.
Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 signed an executive order
directing state regulators to mandate the sale of
only zero-emission vehicles by 2035, and Baker
included the policy in his 2050 Decarbonization
Roadmap published in December 2020.
commitment for the state of Massachusetts that we
will ban sales of internal combustion engines by
2035 is a commitment to which we are wedded," Energy
and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen
Theoharides said last month during a hearing of the
Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate
position is now being targeted by a coalition of
free-market think tanks and advocacy organizations,
led locally by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance,
who believe the state should decouple itself from
"For us in
Massachusetts, MassFiscal and (Citizens for Limited
Taxation) are going to fight pretty hard to make
sure motorists have choices and the free market
dictates what people want instead of the governor of
California," said Fiscal Alliance spokesman Paul
helped organize a conference call Thursday with
groups representing the six New England states,
excluding New Hampshire, who have laws tying their
vehicle emission standards to California, describing
it as the next big battleground after many of the
same groups helped successfully build opposition to
the now defunct regional Transportation Climate
Initiate. TCI would have attempted to reduce carbon
emissions from cars and trucks by putting a
declining cap on emissions in participating states.
coalition, consisting of 29 groups in 15 of the 16
states tied to California, is looking to spread
awareness with the public, media and legislators of
what is about to happen in a little more than a
don't support autopilot laws," said Chip Ford,
executive director of Citizens for Limited
Taxation, adding, "We're hoping that we can
bring accountability back to any of these laws,
especially something as radical as this, banning
internal combustion engines."
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
did not respond to requests for comment....
Hansen, president of Ethan Allen Institute in
Vermont, predicted that a ban on gasoline-powered
vehicles would fail in rural states like hers where
public transit is not an option and zero-emission
technology is "not affordable or readily available."
is not a colony of California," Hansen said. "It is
anti-democratic and irrational for Vermont lawmakers
to cede regulatory authority over our standards to
House News Service
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Groups Mobilizing As
EPA Shifts On Tailpipe Emissions
Consumers In Middle Amid Move To Stringent Standards
California, so goes Vermont. According to the
requirements of Vermont state law, Vermont must ban
the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles
by 2035 – because that’s what California is doing,
state law commits Vermont to follow California state
emissions standards. “No new motor vehicle shall be
sold or leased in the State unless a vehicle
emissions label that meets [California emissions
standards] is affixed to the vehicle,” 10 VSA 579
states (including every other New England state
except New Hampshire) decided likewise, in an effort
to shape federal and industry emissions
recently, conforming to California emissions regs
meant adopting the state’s higher-than-the-feds MPG
standards. But that was before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s
September 2020 “mandate that 100 percent of in-state
sales of new passenger cars and trucks are
zero-emission by 2035.” This regulation would
effectively ban the sale of all internal combustion
Vermont Daily Chronicle
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
State law requires
zero-emissions new cars by 2035 – because California
coalition of conservative groups from several states
has launched an effort to stop the implementation of
California’s ban on non-electric vehicle sales by
really knows that these bans are coming,” said Paul
Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “Right
now, we want to educate the public on what’s
scheduled to take place.”
Massachusetts, as well as 15 other states, has
linked its emissions policies to California’s since
1991 under the Clean Air Act. California Air
Resources Board vehicle emissions standards must be
adopted if they’re more stringent than federal
standards in these states.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in September 2020 that
the state would phase out the sale of new
non-electric cars by 2035, a move Baker supported
and echoed that December in his Massachusetts 2050
Decarbonization Roadmap Report.
Wednesday, the Biden administration reversed a
Trump-era ban on California’s ability to set
stricter vehicle emissions than the rest of the
country — the only state with the authority to do
letter signed by right-leaning organizations from 15
of the 16 states beholden to California’s rules,
including the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, the
groups expressed concern for states’ lack of
authority, and concern for the economic impact the
electric vehicle requirement could have on low- and
costs would have to come out of other areas of
household budgets leading to hard choices for people
already struggling to make ends meet,” the letter
states. “Small businesses that transport goods or
provide services will have higher operating costs,”
which the letter argues would ultimately be passed
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Coalition of right-leaning
groups rally to stop states
from adopting California’s electric vehicle policy
of gas keeps going up, but forcing electric cars on
to consumers is not the answer, according to several
organizations across New England.
coalition of New England policymakers held a virtual
press conference Thursday morning to discuss how
transportation policies in California are tied to 15
other states including Vermont, and will mandate
that no gas-combustion engines may be sold after
Vermont, groups are concerned about a 2006 Vermont
law that ties the Green Mountain State to
California’s carbon emissions standards for
transportation. Prior to 2020, that’s meant setting
higher miles-per-gallon efficiency standards for gas
engines. But California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020
signed a law that 100 percent of in-state sales must
be “zero-emission” vehicles by 2035, and that policy
now has implications for other states.
press conference, Chip Ford, of
Massachusetts-based Citizens for Limited Taxation,
said this development is another example of public
representatives creating new bureaucracies that
more unelected bureaucrats who are eroding states’
sovereignty, and it eliminates transparency and
eliminates any accountability to citizens
whatsoever,” Ford said. “It allows elected
representatives to dodge difficult votes.
citizens don’t support “auto-pilot” laws that impose
new costs on citizens without their input.
think that this is a good idea, we don’t think that
one size fits all, and one of our justices of the
Supreme Court noted that our states are our
laboratories for democracy,” Ford said.
Murray, a policy analyst for the Maine Policy
Institute, said that in Maine the public has lost
control over major policy-making decisions.
the unelected bureaucrats at Maine’s Environmental
Protection [Agency] — because of their routine,
technical rule-making process, Mainers are not
allowed legislative input on that....
Hansen, president of Vermont’s Ethan Allen
Institute, commented on how it’s not economically
feasible to replace combustion engines by 2035 due
to the lack of any affordable alternative.
“Technology bans and mandates cannot succeed in the
absence of affordable alternatives,” she said.
“Banning gasoline-powered vehicles cannot and will
not force a transition to zero-emission vehicles
because EV technology is not affordable or easily
available at present. Electric vehicles have miles
to go before they can compete in the market without
the aid of government subsidies and tax credits.”
suggested that such policies assume that electric
cars will become economically viable, but that such
assumptions are speculative.
commanding that internal combustion engines become
obsolete by an arbitrary year like 2030 or 2035
achieves nothing but political points,” she said,
adding that record-high inflation is already hurting
Stenhouse, CEO of the Rhode Island Center for
Freedom and Prosperity, also spoke at the press
conference about the impact on his state.
“It is not
limited government when our state is beholden to
oppressive standards by another state,” he said. “…
And we helped motorists dodge a bullet last year
when we dodged the TCI (Transportation Climate
answer is to have states craft their own energy
policies, to move away from costly green policies.
And we call today on state lawmakers to begin the
process, to begin the debate to decouple ourselves
from California’s costly emission standards.”
Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers
Association, said letting other states dictate
regulations for Connecticut is detrimental to
for adopting these types of regulations is let the
legislature conceive of and pass this law. Allowing
a king of another state to dictate to the people of
Connecticut the types of cars that they have to
drive, and limiting consumer choice, is something
that is not in the best interest of the state of
organizations that have joined the coalition include
the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and The Gaspee
Project in Rhode Island. About 27 groups in all
belong to the coalition.
The other side of Vermont's News
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Coalition of groups in New
England states form opposition
to gas-powered engine bans
billion spending bill passed the Massachusetts House
unanimously on Wednesday after representatives shot
down a Republican bid to add in language that would
have suspended the state's gas tax until prices fall
below $3.70 a gallon, a proposal the House's top
Democrat called a "stunt." ...
Republican Rep. Peter Durant also cited Russia's
invasion of Ukraine and spiking energy prices in his
push to suspend the gas tax, a proposal that Revenue
Committee Chair Rep. Mark Cusack dismissed before
the vote as a "gimmick."
amendment sought to suspend the gas tax until the
average per-gallon price of unleaded gasoline in
Massachusetts is less than $3.70. AAA reported an
average price of $4.24 per gallon in the state on
told his colleagues that adopting his amendment will
show residents "we have skin in the game, too."
one small step that we as a commonwealth can say to
the people of this state that we feel your pain,"
Durant said. "We're willing to step up to the plate,
we're willing to do what's right, and we'll take
some of this burden on ourselves."
rejected Durant's amendment on a voice vote, where
individual lawmakers' positions are not recorded.
Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance
criticized the voice vote, saying it was
"disappointing that House lawmakers play games to
protect themselves from hard votes while motorists
are still left paying the highest recorded prices
for a gallon of gasoline." ...
against Durant's amendment on the floor,
Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Bill Straus said
revenue from the gas tax is among the guarantees the
state makes when it borrows money for transportation
projects, and warned that pausing collection of the
24-cent-per-gallon tax for an indeterminate period
of time could make future projects more costly.
said his committee is "looking at real relief for
families, not political gimmicks." He said the panel
is reviewing the estate tax changes and rental
deduction increase that Baker offered up in January
as part of a nearly $700 million package of
proposals to help individual taxpayers and make the
state more competitive.
said the rental deduction and other measures the
committee is looking at offer "real relief and real
money in the pockets of everyone across the
commonwealth, not just drivers."
of gas is outrageous," Cusack told reporters.
"There's a lot of price gouging up there. The price
of gas has risen a lot higher as a percentage than
has a barrel and that needs to be looked at, but
there's no relief in this amendment for home heating
oil and gas, so that's also a concern. But we're
looking at real relief." ...
knocking the gas tax suspension as a "stunt," House
Speaker Ron Mariano said after Wednesday's session
that lawmakers are "beginning to try and figure out
a way that would have a bigger impact on families
that have to deal with the uncertainty that we're
facing in inflation and certainly in fuel supply."
said he and Cusack "had a revenue discussion" before
Baker filed his plan in January and had been talking
about the estate tax and something that would
House News Service
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Mass. House Rejects Gas Tax
Cusack Knocks "Gimmick," Says House Dems Exploring
amendment to the supplemental budget that would have
chipped away at skyrocketing gas prices by
temporarily suspending the gas tax was rejected by
the state House without a roll call vote.
think it’s a real serious attempt to provide
relief,” Democratic House Speaker Ron Mariano said
of the proposal, painting it as a political “stunt.”
amendment proposed by state Rep. Peter Durant,
R-Spencer, would have suspended the 24-cent gas tax
any time gas prices jumped over $4 a gallon, and
reinstated it when prices went back under $3.70....
Sonia Chang-Díaz and Maura Healey did not support
the gas tax suspension, instead calling on the state
to decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.
to AAA, gas prices surged to $4.16 Monday, 8 cents
higher than the previous record of $4.08 in 2008.
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Amendment to suspend gas tax
rejected by Massachusetts House
20, 2020, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a statewide
eviction moratorium into law, banning non-essential
evictions of residents and small businesses.
tough, people were desperate, they needed a break.
COVID seems to be packing its bags for the train out
of town, times are tough for a different reason: The
price of oil is hitting record levels, and many
Massachusetts drivers are feeling some real pain at
We need a
to suspend the gas tax.
is being kicked around by the Republican candidates
for governor, who are calling on the state
Legislature to take action. “We need relief from the
skyrocketing prices across the board, and the state
has a clear way to help by putting a holiday on the
gas tax during this current crisis. This would
provide an instant savings to our families trying to
make ends meet,” GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris
proposal would be a temporary and complete
moratorium on the state gas tax of 24 cents per
gallon any time prices hit $4, bringing the total
cost per gallon back under $4. Doughty’s policy
would reinstate the tax when prices returned to
$3.70 or less per gallon.
challenger on the right, Geoff Diehl, made the same
proposal, echoing calls from the conservative
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance to suspend the tax.
relief isn’t the answer to all of our problems and
it won’t erase all fuel price increases, but
particularly where our state has surplus tax revenue
on-hand, it would go a long way toward making
Massachusetts a more affordable place to live,”
Diehl said in a statement.
We do have
surplus tax revenue — Gov. Baker said last month
that the state is in a “very strong financial
position” when discussing his plan to give nearly
$700 million in tax cuts to mostly low- and
of just about everything is going up, and these tax
breaks would help offset some of those costs for
families,” Baker said.
up, people struggle, leaders should step up and
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Give us a break – suspend
the gas tax
stranglehold COVID-19 has held on life for two years
has begun to ease as restrictions fall by the
wayside and people slowly ease back into routines
that were once taken for granted.
Massachusetts marked the two-year anniversary of the
public health emergency this week, residents are
being squeezed by a new set of forces largely out of
was already putting pressure on household budgets
when Russia's invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago
started an upward spiral of gas prices that pushed
the average price of a gallon of regular motor fuel
to new records this week, peaking at more than $4.36
response from some lawmakers and both GOP candidates
for governor was to call for the immediate, but
temporary, suspension of the state's 24-cent gas
tax. The state, after all, is flush with cash at the
moment and can afford to forgo a little revenue.
Speaker Ron Mariano, however, quickly dismissed the
idea as a "political stunt" that would do little to
provide relief if gas prices keep climbing, and some
of his top deputies argued it would amount to the
state reneging on its covenants with bondholders who
own the state's debt.
rejected a Rep. Peter Durant amendment to suspend
the gas tax on a voice vote, and the idea doesn't
appear to have gained much more momentum in the
Senate. But that's not to say the gas crisis hasn't
breathed new life into the idea of tax relief for
low- to medium income households.
beginning to try and figure out a way that would
have a bigger impact on families that have to deal
with the uncertainty that we're facing in inflation
and certainly in fuel supply," Mariano said.
Democrat suggested a package that would couple
reforms to the estate tax with "something else that
would benefit renters" could be a starting point.
And the speaker's comments were music to the ears of
the Baker administration, which included both as
part of the governor's budget package of $700
million in tax cuts.
the tax cuts proposed by the Administration enjoy
bipartisan support and that should come as no
surprise, as nearly everyone in Massachusetts is
feeling the effects of inflation and millions would
benefit from cutting these taxes," Baker press
secretary Terry MacCormack said. "Hearing Speaker
Mariano voice such strong support for similar tax
relief measures is another hugely positive sign that
the Governor's tax cuts could become a reality for
House News Service
Friday, March 11, 2022
Weekly Roundup - Higher and
Higher and Higher