Washington gas taxes to nearly double next year under carbon program

(The Center Square) – Washington state’s new tax on carbon dioxide emissions under the Climate Commitment Act is projected to add 46 cents per gallon to the cost of gas next year, nearly doubling the amount of taxes Washingtonians will pay at the pump. The current state gas tax is nearly 50 cents per gallon.

Passed by the state Legislature in 2021, the Climate Commitment Act – Senate Bill 5126 – directs the Washington State Department of Ecology to develop and implement a statewide cap-and-trade program to cut carbon pollution by requiring emitters to obtain “emissions allowances” equal to their covered greenhouse gas emissions. …

The program will start on Jan. 1, 2023. …

“That would add a tax of about 52 cents per gallon or just over 46 cents per gallon for fuels required to include 10% ethanol in accordance with Washingtons state law,” Todd Myers, environmental director for the free market Washington Policy Center think tank, explained in a Tuesday blog.

He added, “For diesel, the tax on CO2 emissions would increase the cost of a gallon by about 59 cents per gallon, or 56 cents per gallon for fuels that include 5% biodiesel.”

And it’s only going to get worse from there, according to Myers.

“That amount would climb to $100.23 per MT in 2030, equating to 89 cents per gallon, or 80 cents per gallon for the 10% ethanol mix,” he noted. “For diesel, it would add more than a dollar, $1.02, per gallon, or 97 cents for gas mixed with biofuel.”

Myers addressed the discrepancy between current projected costs and the costs in the cap-and-trade bill’s fiscal note.

“Well, the fiscal note had minimum prices and did say their estimates were ‘conservative,’” he told The Center Square. “But this is a very big jump and bigger than I expected.” …

“Also, Washington’s targets for 2030 are super aggressive, and we have to cut emissions radically and very fast,” Myers said.

Using 1990 emissions levels as the baseline, Washington is required to reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030, by 70% by 2040, and by 95% by 2050.

In his blog, Myers warns that environmental activists are trying to remove protections from the cap-and-trade law for core industries, primarily manufacturing, that release large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and face significant global competition for their products.

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