Carbon tax profile for Rhode Island (Ariana Johnson; previous version by Nicolle Piper Bladow)

% change 1990-2007
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of metric tonnes[1]
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions, in millions of short tons[2]
Population, in millions[3]
Per capita CO2 emissions, in short tons

Per capita emissions in Rhode Island State in 2007 were almost half that of the U.S. average, which was 21.0 short tons per capita.[4] Rhode Island has the lowest per capita energy consumption in the United States. Additionally, Rhode Island requires that the use of reformulated motor gasoline be blended with ethanol. A study from 2007 determined that 15% of the states energy could be obtained from offshore wind energy, thus decreasing their reliance on foreign means of energy.[5]

A carbon tax of $30 per short ton of CO2 (about $0.30 per gallon of gasoline, or about $0.03 per kWh of coal-fired power) would have raised about $330 million in 2007 (about $300 per person), assuming a 10% reduction in emissions. The graph below shows the breakdown of fossil fuel emissions broken into categories. [6]


The total tax revenue for the state of Rhode Island in 2007 was about $2.8 billion. Property taxes only account for $1.5 million, general sales tax contributes $876 million and selective sales taxes (motor fuel, alcohol, tobacco and others) added up to $480 million. [7]

Any plan to implement a carbon tax would need to consider the effects of attracting businesses. Currently, Rhode Island is considering changing its tax structure; this includes eliminating the 9% corporate income tax over a four year period. They are planning to offset some of the lost revenue by increasing the cigarette tax from 1$ to $3.46 per pack. [8] Carbon tax could also be used to as a tool to enable more business attracting measures, since the commercial sector only contributes 9% of Rhode Island's carbon release.

Carbon reduction scheme

Carbon emission credits
  1. ^ From EPA, “State CO2 Emissions from fossil fuel combustion, 1990-2007”, linked from here.
  2. ^ 1 metric tonne equals 1.1023 short tons.
  3. ^ 2007 population from the U.S. Census Bureau, 1990 population from U.S. Census Bureau,
  4. ^ U.S. population of 301.6 million in 2007 from U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. carbon emissions of 5.757 billion tonnes (or 6.346 billion short tons) of CO2 from EPA's 2010 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.
  5. ^ EIA state profile
  6. ^ From EPA, “State CO2 Emissions from fossil fuel combustion, 1990-2007”, linked from here.
  7. ^ "State and Local Government Finance: Historical Data: 2007." U. S. Census Bureau. 14 July 2010. U. S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, Web. 28 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Rhode Island’s “Business-Friendliness” Ranking Would Improve Dramatically Under Governor’s Plan." Tax Foundation. 27 Mar 2009. Tax Foundation, Web. 3 Dec 2009.