Connecticut is about to drive off a cliff if new car and truck regulations are passed on November 28th by a select group of 14 state lawmakers. While most of us are still recovering from a Thanksgiving Day turkey coma, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee will vote on whether to ultimately ban the sales of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks and mandate the sale of electric vehicles only in the near future.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
Unlike other legislative committees, this group of 14 lawmakers would have the final say. The buck stops here. The House and Senate would not debate it. It would be a done deal and practically impossible to undo.
CART BEFORE THE HORSE
We’ve all heard the old adage of putting the cart before the horse, in this case, that’s exactly what some would do! A number of lawmakers, regulators, and even the governor, want to ban the sale of new, gasoline-powered cars and trucks and eventually mandate an EV-only future when buying new vehicles.
A BAN WITH NO PLAN
Here’s the problem. How would we power all these new add-ons to our barely chugging-along electricity grid and who would pay for it? With no real plan in place, an all-electric future could leave Connecticut residents stranded with no way to charge their cars, get to work, buy groceries, and more. Also, how would we ship goods across the country if electric tractor trailers must stop and charge every 300 miles for 8 to 10 hours. It would be challenging to say the least! There could be supply shortages and the costs of goods and services could escalate. If you think inflation is bad now, just wait.
And before you know it, that cliff is fast approaching with no real way to put the brakes on and stop a fatal crash from happening.
WHO PAYS TO UPGRADE THE ELECTRIC GRID?
Another big question about an all-electric future is a big one! State regulators know the grid would need a tremendous upgrade, but there’s no plan in place on how to pay for it. In August of this year, an Eversource executive said upgrading the grid could cost anywhere from $1.5 billion to $2.4 billion.
Last month, Katie Dykes, the commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said upgrading the grid would require a significant investment, but ratepayers would only be able to cover so much of that cost. Commissioner Dykes said it was her hope that investors would be willing to “make some sacrifices” regarding earnings during the first generation of projects with hopes that revenue would pick up during the second generation. Commissioner Dykes was the keynote speaker at the Connecticut Energy Expo held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Harford on October 19. The room was packed with about 200 people eager to promote an all-electric and renewable future. Later in the day, one speaker asked how many people in the room drove EVs to the conference, about four people raised their hands.
The hypocrisy is palpable and even more proof that we are not there yet.
THE PRICE OF GASOLINE WOULD INCREASE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T AFFORD TO BUY EVs
In addition to grid issues, there are other problems associated with this plan that would make it almost impossible for the average person in Connecticut to be able to afford to live here. As the ban continues to take more and more gasoline-powered cars out of the mix, the price of gasoline would increase for those people who can’t afford to buy more expensive EVs. We estimate that many of our members who sell gasoline and diesel fuel would be forced to close their doors with fewer customers. Fewer supplies would mean less competition and higher costs. It’s simple economics.
THE GAS CAR BAN STARTS IN LESS THAN THREE YEARS
Also, this ban isn’t 11 years away as some would like you to think. The first phase of the plan calls for a 35% ban on the sale of new gasoline/diesel vehicles in 2026. In 2028, that number jumps to 51%, and by 2035, it reaches 100%. When that day comes, electric would be the only option when buying a new car, or truck. People who can’t afford this would be left out. The cost of electric tractor trailers are also four times as much as a regular diesel truck. This would also increase the cost of transporting goods. (Source: Title 13, California Code of Regulations, Section 1962.4, Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards for 2026 and Subsequent Model Year Passenger Cars and Light-Duty Trucks. Annual ZEV Requirements. Calculating Annual ZEV Requirement)
Consumers would pay in multiple ways: higher electric bills, higher food prices, higher heating fuel cost, higher prices for used cars, and higher prices for gasoline. Basically, everything would cost more. Low-and middle-income families would pay! Businesses would pay, and for what? For a cart that comes before the horse, for an all-electric future that doesn’t have the reliability nor the juice to keep the lights, cars running and the economy moving.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Some would like you to think that electricity is clean but in Connecticut, it is not. Since the electric grid primarily uses natural gas to generate electricity, a switch to electric vehicles is moving the source of emissions from the tailpipe to the power plant smokestack.
I am here today imploring these 14 lawmakers to put the brakes on now before driving us all off the cliff. We have time to get a better plan in place and not mandate something that cannot be done at this moment in time.
We are also asking lawmakers and state regulators to consider other alternative fuels and energy sources to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Our home heating fuel companies already offer a green, liquid renewable fuel called biodiesel. It’s made from discarded cooking oil and waste plant oil. In July of 2022, Public Act No. 21-181 went into effect in Connecticut. This new state law requires home heating fuel companies statewide to blend their fuel with renewable biodiesel. It’s a law CEMA members supported and promoted.
In one year alone, CEMA members have replaced 17 million gallons of home heating oil with biodiesel. This has reduced carbon emissions by 192,000 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of removing 38,000 cars off our roads yearly, and that’s just with the 5 percent blend. As we go on in years, the blend percentage will increase. When the law is fully implemented, it will reduce CO2 emissions by two billion tons annually. This renewable, green fuel can also be used in trucks in addition to heating homes.
Electricity isn’t the only game in town. Fuel diversity is key to meeting our collective goals of helping to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act.
Let’s put the brakes on before we all stall, or worse.