The three-year-old mandatory East Cost greenhouse gas trading market produced a $1.6 billion economic gain for the 10 participating states, according to a study by the Analysis Group released Nov. 15. By using real data to examine the states\u2019 implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), \u201cwe hope to provide a solid foundation for observations that can be used by others in future program design and to inform deliberations\u201d about carbon trading markets, the authors state. California tracks RGGI, the nation\u2019s first regional program to cap power plant carbon dioxide emissions and require generators to buy carbon allowances for each ton of the gas produced. RGGI\u2019s technical advisory board includes a California Air Resource Board staff member. Much of the overall financial benefit of the regional carbon program reaped between mid-2008 and September of this year was attributed to auction revenues being applied to energy efficiency programs. However, the impact varied by state and their different applications of auction revenues. California has yet to decide how to use the auction revenues--be it to grow renewables, energy efficiency, lower consumers\u2019 utility bills, job training, or for a mix of options. Gains attributed to RGGI also were linked to job training and helping some of the participating states fill general fund gaps. The report also concluded the trading program reduced fossil fuel use by $767 million over the three-year period. The study estimates the average savings during the three-year period for households was $25, for commercial customers $181, and for industries $2,493. Ratepayers pay for the cost of the allowances that generators buy, according to the study, .The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. States participating in the Regional trading program include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI caps power plant emissions. The ten participating states were allocated emissions, which have been auctioned as a means of meeting the carbon cap at the lowest cost. * * * * * Times they are a changin\u2019. That\u2019s what the California Air Resources Board told carmakers at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week in outlining its plan to see that 87 percent of the vehicles on the state\u2019s highways are zero emissions models by 2050. For all practical purposes that means they are likely to be electric vehicles that charge up off the state\u2019s power grid. The Air Board outlined its strategy Nov. 16 in a newly published paper. Release of the paper coincided with the Obama Administration\u2019s formal proposal to raise the nation\u2019s automotive mileage standard to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025. In addition, it came on the heels of a new documentary film debuting in California theaters this week and widely touted by electric car aficionados: The Revenge of the Electric Car. It\u2019s the sequel to Who Killed the Electric Car?, the story of how California\u2019s initial zero emissions vehicle standard was scuttled a decade ago. The Air Board paper is silent on the impact of the proposed standards on the grid, but automakers have been anticipating a shift to electric vehicles and preparing for it. Air Board chair Mary Nichols paid a visit to the auto show this week in advance of the agency\u2019s plan for setting advanced car standards. The upcoming rules are to guide automotive technology post 2016. The Air Board anticipates its upcoming regulations will result in 1.4 million electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles on the streets by 2025. By then the standards are supposed to cut the state\u2019s greenhouse gas emissions by 47 percent. California is striving under its climate change law, AB 32, to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon emissions in the state, followed by the power sector. After 2025, the number of electric cars is supposed to dramatically ramp up to the point where virtually all of the approximately 1.6 million new cars sold in the state each year will be electric or fuel cell models by 2035.