Senate approves ‘high-cost fuel standard’ bill

The Senate tonight narrowly passed a bill that would create a “high-cost fuel standard” in Washington.

 House Bill 1091, approved 27-20, returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence, or agreement, with a Senate amendment to the proposal.

“This bill is the latest attempt by Governor Inslee to cram what he calls a ‘low-carbon’ fuel standard down Washingtonians’ throats,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “There certainly is no guarantee this bill would improve the climate, but we can be guaranteed that fuel costs will skyrocket once this bill becomes law. Worse yet, it will act like a very expensive gas tax, but without any benefit to our roads.”

Schoesler said the Puget Sound Area Clean Air agency estimates costs of a similar localized LCFS program in 2019 would increase 57 cents per gallon for gasoline and rise 63 cents a gallon for diesel.

“Between the sharp increase in fuel prices caused by this bill and the ‘cap and tax’ bill that the Senate passed earlier tonight, it’s going to be a total shock for drivers when they fill up at the pump once these bills are implemented,” said Schoesler. “If you need to drive long distances for work or other reasons, this one-two punch courtesy of the Democrats is going to hit your wallet hard. This bill punishes people who can least afford it, and it will hurt agriculture in our state by imposing extra costs on farmers. This bill will put our economy at risk. People should think of Governor Inslee when they pay more at the pump because he’s the one who wanted it all along.”

The proposal would direct the Department of Ecology to adopt rules aimed at achieving a 20% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions from fuel by 2035.

Under HB 1091, refiners would be required to blend gas and diesel with advanced biofuels to reduce the carbon content of fuel. Only a 2-4%reduction in emissions can be accomplished this way, and this is only a small part of the program. Most of the program (80-90 percent) is about creating a “credit market” managed by Ecology, requiring refiners to pay for government-approved carbon-reduction programs. Costs likely would be passed on to consumers. At least half the money would go to programs to promote electric cars.