Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has unveiled an energy program for the state that, among other elements, establishes a 20% minimum alternative fuels component for all commercial transportation fuels sold in the state by 2020.
The plan also establishes a mandatory mix of 20% biofuels in all residential and commercial heating oil by 2020. Overall, the plan calls for 20% of all energy used and sold in the State of Connecticut to come from clean or renewable resources by 2020.
Other transportation-related elements in the plan, which covers all aspects of energy usage in the state, include:
Mandatory 10% biofuel mixtures for the state vehicle fleet by 2012.
Initiating a regional effort to allow the use of hybrid vehicles in lieu of E85 vehicles in meeting federal fleet requirements.
The extension of the current state sales tax exemption for hybrid vehicles that attain at least forty miles per gallon on the highway through June 30, 2010. The state’s current exemption is set to expire on October 1, 2008. The state will study the feasibility of extending the sales tax exemption to any vehicle—not just hybrids—that attain at least 40 mpg.
The exemption of such vehicles from local property taxes for a period of three years beginning with those new vehicles placed on a town’s grand list on or after October 1, 2006. Such consumers would pay no tax beginning with the tax due on July 1, 2007.
Providing a range of low interest loans and grants to state farmers to produce biofuel feedstock crops.
Creating an incentive program to promote the construction of biofuel production facilities.
Establishing a low-interest forgivable loan pool for service stations to reduce or eliminate the upfront costs of installing new alternative fuel pumps or converting gas or diesel pumps to dispense alternative fuels.
In a search for shorter-term relief from rising gas prices, the Governor is proposing capping the gross receipts tax on petroleum products when the wholesale price of a gallon of gas hits $1.75. The wholesale price has recently been as high as $2.23 per gallon.
The Governor also is proposing the elimination for two years of zone pricing in Connecticut—a practice under which the state is divided into two zones for pricing purposes, in an effort to compensate for travel and delivery distances.