STOPTHETAXES

Some lawmakers in Montpelier are determined to raise the cost of fuel.

Tell them you DO NOT support a Carbon Tax!

Download a paper petition here  opposing the carbon tax.

Send us a note here and we will send you a "No Carbon Tax" sticker.

LOREM IPSUM DOLOR

LOREM IPSUM DOLOR

As Vermont's fuel dealers work long hours outside in the cold, lawmakers inside the Statehouse are reviewing policies designed to eliminate oil and gas though a carbon tax.


Below are just a few of the anti-fuel legislative proposals that were introduced by lawmakers in  2019.


H.477 “An act relating to a carbon charge” will add a $5 per tonne charge on carbon starting in 2020 and increase to $50 by 2030. For heating oil and diesel fuel sold in Vermont, the tax starts at a nickel and increases to 51-cents a gallon over the next decade. For gasoline, it would start at 4.5 cents per gallon and eventually get to 44-cents per gallon. For propane, it starts at 3-cents and ends up at 29-cents per gallon.  

Source: 2015 Vermont Legislative Counsel


H.463 would add up to 40-cents a gallon in carbon charges.


H.462  "An act relating to addressing climate change" mandates the state of Vermont eliminate fossil fuel consumption by 2050, making reductions “legally enforceable." The state of Vermont could be sued if it fails to meet the no fossil fuel goal in 2050 or key benchmarks in 2025 and 2035 (25% and 50% of the 1990 baseline).


A detailed analysis on how much these carbon tax proposals will cost Vermont can be found here.

_____________________

Studying Carbon

A recently released 146 page "carbon pricing analysis" comes to the conclusion that making fuel unaffordable will force people to use less. Below are some more take aways from the report.


It will not “solve” climate change.

According to the analysis, Vermont will not meet climate goals by implementing a carbon tax.


It will not benefit the economy.

A carbon tax could lower Vermont GDP nearly 1%.


Large employers and low income Vermonters will feel the pain.

Low-income and rural households spend a larger percentage of their income on energy. A carbon tax is regressive, particularly in rural areas of Vermont, where people are more dependent on gasoline to get to work and heating oil to stay warm. Energy intensive industries like factories are affected more than other industries.


A low carbon price will not reduce emissions, a high price will hurt the economy.

A carbon tax will signal to large employers not to move to Vermont— or current employers to move out. Due to the sales tax, pollution fee, and fuel tax, Vermont businesses already pay 7% more per gallon than our neighbors in New Hampshire (based on $3 gallon heating oil). A carbon pricing policy that levies a $100 per metric ton tax would make the same fuel 50% more expensive. Raising the cost of energy purchased in our state will provide an economic advantage for businesses to operate outside of Vermont’s borders.


If Vermont goes it alone “emissions reductions are overestimated.”

Half of Vermont’s population lives near the border of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York. The carbon tax study recognizes that liquid fuels are easily transportable, delivered directly to a tank at a home or business. Out of economic necessity, carbon tax avoidance will become widespread. There is no prohibition on consumers purchasing untaxed fuel outside of Vermont and transporting fuel in cars, trucks, cans or portable tanks in their personal vehicle (up to 110 gallons are allowed). This method of transporting fuel is inherently unsafe.


Chittenden County wins…..again.

According to one author of the carbon tax study: “We do find that rural households are on average slightly worse off from the policy than the Chittenden County residents.” Urban areas where homes and employers are more concentrated and where public transportation is readily available will do better than those living in the “Other Vermont."


We will need another tax.

The study recognizes that if the state of Vermont achieves its goal of reducing fossil fuels, lawmakers will need to replace the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes paid every year by the gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and propane industries. These taxes are what pay for road construction, pollution mitigation and low income weatherization, as well as contribute to the general fund.


What the study missed.

The study has a major flaw when it discusses benefits of reduced fuel consumption by suggesting that it will improve air quality. That would be true if Vermonters no longer needed to heat their homes. But if raising the cost of heating oil convinces people to fire up a wood stove, air quality in Vermont will suffer. Due to the ultra-low sulfur fuel law, oilheat has virtually eliminated particulate emissions, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. In fact, SO2, NOX, and particulate emissions from ULSHO are the equivalent of natural gas. Wood is nearly as dirty as coal. Zoe Chafe, of Cornell University, says breathing wood smoke is worse for kids, elderly people, and anyone with heart or lung problems. In other words, if raising the price of clean ultra low sulfur heating oil forces Vermonters to use inefficient old dirty wood stoves to stay warm, the environment and our health will suffer.


More fact checks for the pro-tax people.

Switching from oil to electricity does not “keep money local” when most of our electricity (just like our fossil fuels) comes from Canada and the largest electric utility in Vermont is owned by a corporation in Quebec.


Winter peaking means we have oil fired electric heat.

The ISO NE mix is 70% coal/oil/gas in 2017 and is expected to be

76% coal/oil/gas in 2025. This past winter, heating oil proved critical to ensuring that ISO NE had enough power. New England power generators used 84 million gallons of heating oil between December 25th and January 9th. This is about the same amount of residential heating oil sold in Vermont during an entire year. In other words, New England electric utilities needed a year's supply of Vermont's heating oil to ensure the region had enough electricity for two weeks.


Vermont is still cold.

As anyone who has huddled inside their home in January knows, the temperature in Vermont drops below zero frequently. While cold climate electric heat pumps (ccHP) are great air conditioners in the summer and provide warm air in the fall, you need combustion to stay heated in the winter. They do not heat the whole building, only the rooms where the appliance is located. You still need an oilheat or propane fired central heating system operating in the winter to ensure your pipes don't freeze. When pipes freeze up they can crack and cause significant damage. And, if there is no back up oil or gas system, Vermonters will rely on costly and dangerous electric space heaters to stay warm.

Read more at vermontfuel.com/heatpump.


_______________


Examining the Essex Plan.

While there have have more than a half dozen failed carbon tax bills in Montpelier, one of the more popular measures is called the “Essex Plan.”  


What is the Essex Plan?

The plan would create a new tax on the fuel that 99% of us need to drive and 75% of us need for heat. The ill-conceived scheme would hand Vermont taxpayer money over to electric utilities in an attempt to convince people to stop using oil and gas— and start using electric cars and heat.  


Why should rural Vermonters who can’t afford a new car, never mind an expensive electric vehicle, be subsidizing Teslas in Chittenden County?

Next time a politician tells you a tax hike on oil and gas will “help” the economy— make sure you have the facts.


What Local Benefit?

The pro-tax lobby claims a carbon tax will create local jobs by keeping our energy dollars local. Rarely is it mentioned that the majority of our electricity comes from outside of Vermont and the single largest provider of power is from Canada. Meanwhile, the Vermont Carbon Tax seeks to eliminate the local home energy companies that provide thousands of local jobs and pay millions in taxes right here in Vermont.


What about the roads?

Even if gas powered cars are replaced with electric vehicles, we will still need to maintain our highways. Vermont sells about 350 million gallons of motor fuel annually,  which generates approximately $100 million in excise taxes for Vermont’s transportation budget. These taxes directly fund road construction and bridge repairs in Vermont. Another new tax will be required if sales of gasoline and diesel fuel decline.


What about existing heating fuel taxes?  

Vermont already has a Sales Tax, Fuel Tax and Pollution Tax on heating fuels which together raise approximately $15 million for the general fund, low income weatherization, and pollution mitigation. If sales of these fuels decline, money will have to come from somewhere to replace it.


What about natural gas?

The carbon tax is on CO2 and NOT on other greenhouse gases, such as methane (also called natural gas). Why does this matter?  Because methane is 20 to 30 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than CO2.  And that means this is an inequitable method of taxing emissions. And such inequity benefits the urban areas of Chittenden County that have access to a gas pipeline.  Rural Vermonters will be paying a greater share of this carbon tax on their heating bill.


Aren't electric heat pumps powered by fossil fuels?

Vermont relies on the ISO NE mix for approximately a third of our electricity and the ISO NE mix is 70% coal/oil/gas in 2017 and is expected to be 76% coal/oil/gas in 2025. That reliance will likely increase if we move more of our energy system from liquid fuel to electrons. This was made clear this winter when heating oil proved critical to ensuring the electric grid had enough power. New England power generators used 84 million gallons of heating oil between December 25th and January 9th. This is about the same amount of residential heating oil sold in Vermont during an entire year.  That needs to be repeated:  New England electric utilities needed a year's supply of Vermont's heating oil to ensure the region had enough electricity for just two weeks. 


Won't another energy tax discourage economic development?

While it sounds obvious, it still needs to be stated.  Any energy intensive company in Vermont will have to consider whether to relocate to a state that does not have a tax on motor, process and heating fuels. Some carbon tax proposals would make liquid fuels 25% to 50% more expensive than neighboring states. Business owners who are considering moving into or out of Vermont would have to consider the increased energy costs as part of the cost of doing business. 


How much will it cost to police the river?

Half the population of Vermont lives near the border of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York. There are hundreds of ways to cross over. According to a survey by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), three in five (63%) consumers say they would drive five minutes out of their way to save 5 cents per gallon. Is there any doubt that Vermonters will cross over to save 40-cents per gallon?  Our bridges will be worn down with all the traffic, only there won’t be money to replace them because the excise taxes will be collected in Concord— not Montpelier.  And what will stop people from crossing back over into Vermont with trucks loaded with skid tanks of diesel, SUVs with 20 gallon jerry cans of kerosene, and cars with propane tanks. Out of economic necessity, there will be widespread carbon tax avoidance. Vermonters who are living on the margins will figure out a way to keep their homes warm. But it won’t be safe.


So what is being done about reducing fuel consumption?

Plenty. Vermont REQUIRES electric utilities to reduce fossil fuels used for transportation and heating among their customers (as per the 2015 Vermont Energy Act). Most utilities are complying with the Tier 3 mandate by incentivizing electric heat pumps and electric cars. There is a real sense of purpose amongst the anti-fuel lobby that something new must be done every year. But there is little patience to allow existing programs to develop.


A carbon tax is a regressive scheme to harm those who choose to live outside of Burlington. Raising the cost of living in a cold, rural state is not a solution to anything but economic ruin.