Traffic congestion on I-95 westbound. CT DOT

Many Connecticut taxpayers are upset over the Democratic attempt to place tolls on our highways and bridges but are unaware of a back door tax that could increase gasoline prices by 50 cents a gallon or more. This plan is being initiated by an unelected panel populated by bureaucrats making six-figure salaries. They are promising to use this money to promote electric cars, buses, and sustainable activities like bicycles and walking.

Joseph Bentivegna MD

Known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI to friends), this bureaucratic panel is a regional consortium of nine states and the District of Columbia that can force energy producers to purchase credits from the state based on the amount of carbon emissions of the fuel they sell. This amount, or “cap,” will decrease every year, so that the credits the producers buy increase in price if they are unsuccessful in reducing their carbon footprint. These credits are “traded” on a state-created exchange, so that energy producers who decrease their carbon footprint are rewarded by paying less and those who are unsuccessful pay more. Thus the program is called “Cap-and-Trade.”

Got it? Probably not. Neither did I the first (nor second nor third time) I read it. Maybe an example will make it clearer.

Let’s say a gasoline distributor is selling gasoline to your local gas station. Based on the amount of carbon emissions this gasoline produces, the distributor will have to purchase credits from the exchange to sell the gasoline and the distributor will push these costs down to your local gas station, and ultimately down to you at the pump. So the plan is to reduce the sale of gasoline in Connecticut by making it more expensive for you to buy it. With the price for credits ever increasing, your price goes up, and you’ll be encouraged to buy an electric car, take mass transit, or ride a bicycle. To facilitate this, TCI social engineers also want to increase urbanization so that people live closer together and won’t need cars anymore and will walk or bike to work. Eventually gasoline companies will need to buy fewer credits only because they’re selling less gasoline.

Of course it is a huge scam. The problem is that there are not too many cars powered by electricity (only about 10,000 fully electric or hybrids in the state now). Fully electric vehicles (EVs) have limited range and battery life. Electrification of the entire transportation sector will put an inordinate strain on our power utilities. EV batteries require rare earth materials that are in limited supply, and so will only further drive up the costs of EVs. Thus, the vast majority of Connecticut citizens will have to pay more for gas, unless the owner of your local gas station is willing to pay for the distributor’s gas credit out of the goodness of his heart. And the alternatives that the TCI bureaucrats want to force upon us are unpalatable – ever more expensive EVs or being forced to live in crowded conditions in urban areas with outrageous housing prices where the need to drive diminishes.

Cap-and-Trade is already the law in California, where gasoline is now over four dollars a gallon. Part of the state’s profit from this system was supposed to be invested in prudent forestry, to decrease the number of wild fires. Things have not worked out as planned. Wild fires are raging, and one of the largest energy companies, Pacific Gas and Electric, has filed for bankruptcy, even though it charges Californians almost twice for electricity as companies in neighboring states.

Cap-and-Trade was tried in Europe, Australia and western Canada, until the voters in those locales voted the perpetrators out of power. France tried to get around this by simply increasing the hydrocarbon tax on fuel directly. The ensuing riots lasted over three months. Chile recently passed a law requiring that their subway system have 60% of its power generated by wind and solar power. Predictably fares went up and predictably, riots occurred. The general population is willing to indulge the climate change agenda until they get the bill.

The irony of TCI’s policy is that it will actually increase carbon admissions. Little or any of this money will actually be spent on our transportation problems. Rather it will go to fund fatter pensions for our bureaucratic class who will now be able to afford more lavish vacations involving carbon-emitting airline travel to European destinations, not to mention the huge amount of fossil fuels expended propelling them on ocean liners while they are grazing on all-you-can eat seafood buffets during their Caribbean cruises. Perhaps some of them will be kind enough to send us post cards.

Joe Bentivegna is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill.

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17 Comments

  1. Well said. It is another backdoor money grab by our superiors who will line their pockets as the rest of us continue to see our economic fortunes decline. Unfortunately, it takes a regular “Joes” to expose this as the media does not and will not investigate anything without first putting on their partisan glasses.

  2. I disagree with the author. SUV’s and pickup trucks are getting bigger and bigger and for the vast majority of people, a small, economical, hybrid or electric would be perfectly adequate. If you want the luxury of a big, inefficient vehicle, then owners should pay the tax. People do not fully grasp the impending climate disaster and a few extra bucks at the pump is irrelevant. Also, the latest electric cars have a range of 250 miles plus, and the batteries will last easily 200,000 miles. Factor in virtually no maintenance costs and note that dealers are selling them for roughly the same price as a gas car. I should know as I bought an electric car last month and couldn’t be happier with it. The author should check his facts.

    1. I’m honestly glad you are happy with your purchase. I know plenty whose ‘happiness’ has faded real fast.

      However, electric cars’ range is tremendously reduced by heat, A/C, outside temp, etc. The price is only artificially kept down by subsidies (which we are all paying for…you’re welcome) which are ending. You still have to charge the batteries and that electricity doesn’t grow on an ‘electric tree’ along the sides of the roads, nor does everyone have a workplace for people to use someone else’s electric bill to charge up.

      As far as SUV/PU size goes, whether they are getting bigger or not is irrelevant–they’re getting much more efficient in terms of fuel use. Same with cars. Then you have the effects of mining for battery components and the disposal thereof.

      Beyond that, who are you to determine that a ‘small, economical, hybrid or electric (vehicle) would be perfectly adequate?”

      1. Fun fact: the fossil fuel industry is subsidized with more than five trillion dollars.
        Again. Five trillion dollars. I wonder which industry is actually more cost competitive…

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/06/15/united-states-spend-ten-times-more-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies-than-education/#255afbdd4473

        Also, its not like gas stations were already in existence when the settlers headed west.
        We had to build up infrastructure for our gas powered cars (see Dwight Eisenhower) and we now need to do the same thing for electric cars, buses, etc.

    2. I just looked at a Telsa you how many miles per hour it charges at a regular house…1-2 miles. Try visiting a friend…and charge over night….or just add 1.5 hour for a round trip of 300 miles.
      Still a ways to go> What is your electric car!

  3. Wow. Quite the selfish article. Sounds like the author was scammed in the past and is using this forum to vent. There is no mention of who will benefit from the program at all.

  4. We need to limit reliance on fossil fuels — higher fuel prices are know deterrents — cheap fuel doesn’t help when our planet is uninhabitable for use and many other species — we are just another species — and an ignorant one — we have the know how to have avoided climate change — but no will

    1. Hello B Freeman, Please revisit your history books. The Germans lost the Battle of the Bulge due to inability to obtain fuel. Gasoline, Diesel, Oil and Natural Gas are the price for Freedom. Energy Independence is critical to being a World Power , and Global Peacekeeper.

  5. As you’ll recall, the country escaped the 2008 recession in part because gasoline became less expensive. The principle is simple: Cheaper gasoline helps the economy; more expensive gasoline hurts the economy.
    Any plan to drive up gasoline prices is damaging. Other attempts to make gasoline more expensive have not been enacted. Including by the prior President’s administration.

    1. why did gasoline become cheaper…FRACKING which democrats keep Outlawing!
      If a Democrat wins the presidency…you will be looking at a depression!

  6. Alternative energies have lots of pluses … but also lots of minuses, including battery storage and disposal issues, range issues, power loss curves, base load issues, lithium and rare earth mining, and did I mention high costs? That is why we need a diversified energy portfolio, which we are pursuing with significant special subsidies for alternative energies (not fossil fuel based subsidies, don’t do your homework from political sources). Diversification is the proper way to approach this issue. CT gets approximately 50% of its power through nuclear fuel. Very clean. However, as to cars, people should have choices. I do not want the nanny state foisting electric vehicles upon me. They are slow, inconvenient, and you can’t drive them far (low range). Yuck! Are these the same government ‘central command and control’ geniuses that gave us MTBE and ethanol?

  7. Social Engineering is a very short path towards Socialism/Communism. If government takes away your money, your vote, your car, etc. What will be next?

    1. The problem is not Socialism. It is the fact that most plans like this one are more about enriching the jokers who thought it up than fixing any problem.

  8. Few rural residents can bike or walk to medical providers or even to the grocery store. Also, how can residents over 65 years of age stretch their fixed incomes to cover a dramatic increase in gas taxes?

  9. You were making some sense about the TCI cabal until you floated the idea that potential cap and trade collections will not go to EV infrastructure or road maintenance but ” Rather it will go to fund fatter pensions for our bureaucratic class”. It’s a multistate group no a CT Tax Authority.
    Of course before this ever happens, CT residents will all be asked to subsidize EV infrastructure through our electric rates, as many believe our state electric utilities should be funding EV charging stations, make ready work, interconnections and EV rebates. Hold on to your wallets!

  10. This sounds to me like a plan from the same geniuses who brought us ethanol adulterated gasoline. Corn producers and ethanol refiners get government subsidies, get rich and we get gasoline that gives us lousy gas mileage.

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