Puget Sound LCFS could add $.57 to gas prices

After its failed efforts to impose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) across the state during the last two legislative sessions, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is now considering a LCFS that would only apply to King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. Some industry observers say the regional draft rule is intended to pressure state lawmakers into adopting a statewide LCFS program, however the agency’s own technical analysis estimating a $.22-$0.57 per gallon price increase by 2030 gives critics powerful ammunition against any potential legislative proposal.

As Association of Washington Business Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis sees it, the technical analysis vindicates warnings made about a LCFS bill introduced during this year’s legislative session based on a 2018 report about California’s LCFS by its nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). The LAO report concluded that the program had raised gas prices by $.13 and would likely raise them by $.46 by 2030.

The new analysis by PSCAA “validated everything we were saying,” Ennis said. “Wait until they have a hearing on the statewide version next session. We don’t have to use California’s numbers. We can use Puget Sound’s.” …

That added fuel costs would “provide no additional transportation infrastructure,” Ennis said. “With the gas tax you’re actually getting a return on your investment.” …

Washington Farm Bureau Associate Director of Government Relations Bre Elsey told Lens PSCAA’s proposal “amounts to woeful negligence at this point. PSCAA’s policy is based on this premise that everyone will be switching over to an electric. …”

… Elsey said the regulatory costs placed on farmers “prevent us from being a part of these new technologies. Farms are operating with little to no profit right now.”…

The public comment period for the draft rule is scheduled until Jan. 6. A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19 at the Washington State Convention Center. The agency will take action no sooner than Feb. 27.

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