A Regional Push to Clean Up Cars, Trucks and Mass Transit

As power-plant emissions decline in the Northeast, a group of East Coast states is targeting another source of greenhouse gases: cars, trucks and mass transit.

Governors from Virginia to New Jersey jointly committed last month to develop a plan to cap transportation emissions, likely by charging fuel distributors and using the profits to invest in cleaner alternatives.

They have been spurred by a startling statistic: Transportation produces about 40 percent of carbon emissions in the region, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The effort isn’t unprecedented: California already has a plan to curb transportation emissions, and many East Coast states are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2009, the initiative known as “Reggie” has capped the overall carbon dioxide produced by power plants and required plant operators to buy permits for their emissions.