Washington now has the highest gasoline prices of all 50 states, the Seattle Times reported June 21. The story was broken the day before by the San Diego Union, which offered it as a good-news story: California’s prices were no longer the highest. …
The newspaper stories say the cause of the high prices in Washington is the “cap-and-invest” law passed by our Democratic legislature a couple of years ago. …
A year ago, the Washington Policy Center in Seattle — a free-market group [critical of] Cap and Invest — estimated that the state’s program could raise the price of regular gasoline in 2023 by 46 cents a gallon, and diesel by 56 cents. … After two auctions held earlier this year by the Department of Ecology, the right to emit CO2 in Washington is now valued at about $48 a ton. That adds 44 cents a gallon to the cost of manufacturing gasoline, and nearly 55 cents for diesel.
And Washington now has the highest gasoline prices in the nation. This is not what state officials said would happen. A year ago, Fox News quoted Governor Jay Inslee as saying, “This is going to have a minimal impact, if any. Pennies.” On Jan., 11, 2023, before the first auction, Luke Martland, who heads the Cap and Invest program at the Department of Ecology, argued with Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Shelton, about an estimate of 20 cents a gallon. MacEwen said it could be that high, and Martland argued against it.
But it isn’t 20 cents. It’s closer to 50 cents.
Having bid up the price of the CO2 permits that the state requires them to have, the refiners have now passed along the cost to consumers. Considering that the state has squeezed the refiners in the two auctions for more than $850 million — what would you expect?
And further, the people who invented “cap and trade,” which is what the system is generally called, wanted the oil companies to pass on the cost to consumers. The program’s purpose is to prod people into using less fossil fuel, and ultimately to switch to electric cars and trucks. If the program isn’t raising the price of gasoline and diesel, it’s not working. …Read the Complete Article »