Puget Sound LCFS could cost $900 per household

While the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) considers a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) within four counties, Governor Jay Inslee’s newly released proposed operating budget includes a similar LCFS proposal and $1.5 million in funding to implement the plan. It marks the third time legislators have looked at the idea which is already in effect in the other two West Coast states.

However, opponents may now have reason to be even more confident than in the past, thanks to a new PSCAA analysis that shows the program could raise gas prices in the region by $.57 – and one consulting firm argues even that analysis uses several optimistic assumptions. That same firm warns the program could cost the average household in the Puget Sound region $900 a year.

Testifying at the PSCAA’s Dec. 19 public hearing, Jessica Spiegel with Western States Petroleum Association said “we urge you to reject this proposed regulation – which has been shown to be ineffective and costly, and which PSCAA’s own analysis shows will be harmful to the economy, will add substantial costs to gasoline and diesel fuel and will not achieve its stated goals of significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or air quality improvements.” …

“Even more than that, from the standpoint of the environment it’s a really bad policy,” Washington Policy Center Environmental Director Todd Myers said. “We’re radically increasing the price of gasoline for tiny environmental benefits. This is the worst policy for climate, it’s the worst policy for clean air and for public health, but it’s done because they want to virtue signal.” …

One argument made by proponents is that the LCFS could boost members of the clean energy sector, such as biofuel producers. However, the PSCAA’s analysis found that “agricultural feedstocks… that can be used to produce ethanol are unlikely to be developed as a resource for low carbon transportation fuel production in the region.” It also concluded that the increased use of canola oil is “highly unlikely” under any LCFS because it’s “as competitive as waste-based feedstocks like yellow grease or used cooking oil.”

The public comment period for the PSCAA’s proposal ends Jan. 6.

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