Comprehensive Fossil Fuel Equipment Change Out

Presented by: Geoff Martin (TRORC), Ben Edgerly Walsh (VPIRG)

Supported by: Linda McGinnis (EAN Senior Fellow), Johanna Miller (VNRC), State Representative Gabrielle Stebbins (Energy Futures Group)

Summary: Whether the issue is Vermont’s climate pollution or the high and unpredictable energy cost burden facing Vermonters, our number one problem is fossil-fuel dependent equipment that locks us in to high-cost and price volatile fuels like gasoline, diesel, propane, and fuel oil and decades of pollution – neither of which we can afford any longer. 

To achieve the Global Warming Solutions Act’s pollution reduction requirements and to reduce the energy cost burdens facing Vermonters (especially lower-income Vermonters) we need a systemic strategy to change-out the fossil-fuel dependent equipment that drives carbon pollution and energy costs in Vermont.  Unless we focus on this root of the problem, the math does not add up. The average vehicle lifespan in Vermont is a decade, the average water heater 15 years, and the average heating system two decades or more. Quite simply, purchases made in the near term will still be with us in 2030, 2050, and beyond, when our stronger emissions reduction goals will be in force. That’s why we need to create a policy and regulatory framework that takes every opportunity switch as many of the 500,000 plus internal combustion engine vehicles, the 300,000 space heating systems, and the hundreds of thousands of other fossil fuel dependent appliances in use by Vermont residents and businesses as fast as possible, and ultimately set a zero-emissions standard for each type of equipment that is today fossil-fueled, to ensure that all new equipment runs on or is capable of running on renewable energy.

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