Commentary: Clean fuels standard too costly and not effective

State legislation would result in higher gas prices and wouldn’t significantly lower carbon emissions.

… Whether part of a transportation package, or passed on its own, an LCFS should be rejected.

An LCFS would be costly, provide negligible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and it would do nothing to improve our state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. In fact, an LCFS would actually threaten transportation funding by adding to fuel costs without directing any funds toward road improvements or highway maintenance.

… Only two states have this fuel policy: California and more recently Oregon.

The California experience provides evidence that an LCFS would be costly and ineffective. The California Energy Commission reports the LCFS in California is currently adding about 19 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline, not 9 cents as reported by the Herald. That was the added cost two years ago.

Costs escalate dramatically as the LCFS becomes more stringent over time. A recent study conducted for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) found that an LCFS imposed here could raise the cost of gasoline in our region by up to 57 cents per gallon by 2030. …

Despite these substantially higher fuel costs, not one dollar would fund much needed transportation infrastructure or help fund the billions needed for highway maintenance and preservation. …

Given the high cost of the LCFS, it’s not surprising there would be negative impacts on the economy, placing Washington businesses at a serious competitive disadvantage.

The study conducted on the Puget Sound regional LCFS proposal found that it would reduce the Gross Regional Product by an amount that adds up to $1.4 billion by 2030 when adjusted for inflation. It would stand to reason that a statewide policy would have even greater negative economic impacts.

The high cost of an LCFS would provide minimal environmental benefits. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has reported that California’s LCFS has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1 percent per year.

This high cost and negligible benefit has led the California agency to recommend its legislature amend or eliminate the low carbon fuel standard all together. …

The LCFS is a flawed, costly, and ineffective carbon reduction policy opposed by thousands of Washington families, consumers, and businesses, and it should be rejected.

Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, with nearly 7,000 member companies.

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