Cap-and-trade driving gas price hike


Last updated 2/21/2023 at 12:03pm

Why are WA gas prices rising while prices in other states remain same?

I’ll tell you why: Gov. Jay Inslee’s environmental laws, approved by legislative Democrats two years ago.

You’ll recall that earlier I wrote about how wholesale gasoline and diesel prices had risen sharply in early January due to the “cap-and-tax” law that went into effect Jan. 1.

During his weekly meeting with reporters last week, Inslee was asked about reports that his cap-and-tax legislation had already raised the price of gas by 10 cents a gallon.

The governor responded by denying that his costly environmental law was the culprit for the gas-price hike and instead pointed the finger at oil companies, arguing they are using the war in Ukraine as an excuse to jack up fuel prices.

The problem with Inslee’s argument is that gas prices are not rising in nearby states like Oregon and Idaho.

While the average price of regular gasoline in Washington rose from $3.87 a gallon a month ago to $4.10 yesterday, the average price of regular gas in Oregon actually dropped slightly from $3.764 per gallon to $3.758 yesterday.

And in Idaho it dropped from $3.471 to $3.45.

Contrary to what Inslee wants us to believe, I strongly doubt that oil companies are going to sharply raise fuel prices in Washington — but not in Oregon and Idaho — because of the Ukraine war.

The governor either is misleading the public on the impact of his cap-and-tax on fuel prices in our state or he is ignorant when it comes to current fuel prices in Washington compared to nearby states.

Farm diesel costs are being impacted, too

Farm diesel isn’t exempt from ‘cap-and-tax’ law, but it should be.

When the Democratic majorities in the Senate and House passed the ill-considered cap-and-tax bill two years ago, I was told that farm diesel fuel (or dyed diesel) would be exempt for four years.

However, when cap-and-tax went into effect Jan. 1, I was shocked and very unhappy to learn that the state Department of Ecology has not implemented this important exemption for farmers in our state.

A similar four-year exemption for the maritime industry also was supposed to kick in on New Year’s Day, but Ecology has not implemented it, either. Some fishing vessels are going to leave Washington for Alaska in the next couple of weeks, and they don’t know how they will be reimbursed by DOE when they are out to sea.

I have reached out to Ecology officials to find out why in the world the agency has failed to follow through on this important exemption for our agricultural community. The response, so far, is that it will implement this exemption next summer.

Apparently, Ecology thinks farming only takes place during the summer and not year-round. The agency’s response is unacceptable.

— Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, represents the 9th Legislative District. Email him at [email protected].


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