FILE - MA gas, fuel 2-18-2021

Jeremy Heskett of Boston pumps gasoline Feb. 18, 2021, at a Shell gas station in Westwood, Massachusetts. 

(The Center Square) – A special interest group in Massachusetts is applauding the state’s decision Wednesday to put a question on the ballot in 2022 pertaining to gas taxes.

The Attorney General’s office announced the Transportation and Climate Initiative question will allow voters to decide if the state would be prevented from taxing fuel or limiting access to it. The question stems from a consortium of states who are seeking to limit carbon emissions in an effort to slow global warming.

The question will appear on the ballot as “An Act Preserving Consumer Access to Gasoline and Other Motor Fuels.”

MassFiscal, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group, said in a news release the organization is “pleased to learn that Massachusetts voters moved one step closer to having a final say on this important question.”

“The TCI ballot question would allow ordinary residents to decide if the state should artificially limit the supply of gasoline and diesel fuels in order to increase fuel costs with hopes to drive down usage,” spokesman Paul Diego Craney said. “This scenario is only appealing to a few people. Unfortunately, those same people have been making many of the decisions for the state.”

TCI, MassFiscal said, started out with 12 states but as of today, only Massachusetts is “fully committed” to the program. The program is set to go into effect in 2023, and MassFiscal said the governor of Connecticut and the former Rhode Island governor signed their states up for the program, but don’t have legislative approval.

“A bi-partisan group of citizens took the first step to bring TCI before the voters of Massachusetts in 2022,” Craney said. "The people that will feel the most pressure of the price increases and shortages that will result from TCI deserve a voice in this process. Drivers should be free to make their own decisions and TCI should never restrict the amount of gasoline Massachusetts consumers can use."

The Attorney General’s office said, “this proposed law would prohibit Massachusetts from imposing any tax, fee, revenue-generating measure, or market-based compliance measure if it would restrict the supply of gasoline, diesel fuels, special fuels, or other motor fuels available to meet consumer demand.”

TCI would require large fuel suppliers to pay for the pollution they create, the group said on its website. Fuel suppliers would purchase “allowances” for pollution from the fuel they sell, and auctioning those allowances generates funding to invest in equitable, less polluting, and more resilient transportation options, the group said on its website.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.