Drivers in the eastern United States may soon start paying for the pollution made by their motor vehicles.

Nine eastern states and Washington, D.C. are launching a system of pricing the carbon dioxide produced from burning gasoline and diesel fuel.

Many scientists believe that carbon dioxide and other gases released by vehicles and factories are to blame for a general warming of our planet.

The plan is an idea of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI. It would likely require fuel suppliers to pay for each ton of carbon dioxide that their products produce. Drivers would likely then pay more for the fuel they buy.

In a statement, TCI said money raised by the program would be used to improve transportation systems and reduce pollution from cars, trucks and buses.

The program could raise $1.5 billion to $6 billion each year, by one estimate.

These investments could create an estimated 91,000 to 125,000 new jobs.

Transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. 

Following California

For transportation fuels, suppliers buy carbon permits for every ton of fuel. This adds a little to fuel costs for drivers. At the current price of about $15 per ton, the program adds about half a dollar, 49 cents, to the cost of one liter of gasoline.

California has raised more than $9 billion from permit sales since the program began in 2012.

That money has paid for renewable energy, mass transit, low-emissions vehicles and other investments.

To help ease costs on poor people, one-third of the money raised is directed at improving transit for poor communities.

The state government is studying the effects of car sharing programs and self-driving cars on reducing emissions. Young said officials are also exploring ways that people can live closer to work or transit.

Hard to change

Transportation is one of the hardest sources of greenhouse gases to battle, experts say.

Unlike at power stations, transportation emissions come from millions of vehicles. And, the choices their owners make have a huge effect on how much carbon dioxide they produce.

There are generally three ways to reduce vehicle emissions, says David Bookbinder: make them more efficient, reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they produce for each unit of energy, or raise the price of fuel.

France's "yellow vest" protests are one extreme reaction to raising fuel prices. And they demonstrate another risk: policies that make gas pricier can have the biggest effect on the people who can least pay for it.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


initiative (n.) - plan or program that is intended to solve a problem


transit (n.) - the act of moving people or things from one place to another


greenhouse gas (n.) - a gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change


unit (n.) - an amount of length, time, money, etc., that is used as a standard for counting or measuring


vest (n.) - a sleeveless piece of clothing with buttons down the front that is worn over a shirt



Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. Why will drivers have to pay?
  2. What gases are responsible for global warming?
  3. What are "yellow vests" reacting to?
  4. How much money has California raised with its program?



Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.


vest, unit, transit, initiative


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.


  1. Do you own a car?
  2. Do you use it to go to work?
  3. Do you share a car?
  4. Do you think using a hybrid car can help reducing pollution?
  5. Would you change from a car to a bicycle to reduce pollution?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.