WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Five states and the District of Columbia plan to develop a joint market-based approach to try to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles across a large area of the Northeastern United States, their governors and mayor announced today.
Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont will work with D.C. to devise market-based programs such as emissions trading or mileage-based user fees.
Emissions trading would allow states to trade pollution permits among each other to help them bring down their emissions. Mileage-based user fees would charge drivers for their pollution based on the amount of miles they drive each year.
The five states, but not D.C., already work together to tackle power sector emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an emissions trading program that has been in place since 2009.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said that while his state has had success cutting emissions from its power plants, it has made less progress on the transportation sector.
"Reducing emissions from transportation remains a stubborn challenge, not only for greenhouse gases but also for other pollutants that cause air quality problems," Markell said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Connecticut's governor said his state has made some progress to improve its transportation infrastructure and to reduce congestion, and has created statewide incentives to encourage consumers to buy electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
"We will work with our regional partners and share details on the progress we are making in Connecticut," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
A report released by Georgetown University's Climate Center today found that implementing a range of clean transportation policies could slash carbon emissions in those states and D.C. by between 29 and 40 percent by 2030.
Apart from the environmental benefits, this would also save businesses and consumers up to $72.5 billion over 15 years, the report said.