OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lawmakers in Olympia are considering a clean fuel standard in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but opponents worry it could increase gasoline prices.
“I’ll start today by telling you some of the things you already know – that transportation fuels are by the largest contributor to Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Fitzgibbon told the committee. “And if we’re serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level, we need to significantly reduce emissions from transportation fuels which unfortunately is more difficult than reducing emissions from electricity generation or heating and cooling of buildings.”
The bill would have the Department of Ecology create a clean fuels program, much like existing ones in Oregon and California. The goal is to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels used in the state for transportation.
Committee staff said it would mandate a 10% reduction in fuel carbon by 2028, and a 20% reduction by 2035.
The Dept. of Ecology would also establish a framework for trading of credits, staff said.
Some fuels are notably exempt, like those for aircraft, vessels and trains, along with military tactical vehicles, and exports out of state. Fuels used for the off-road transport of logs are excluded until 2028. Truckers that carry logs gathered at the capitol on Monday opposing the measure.
The Western States Petroleum Association opposes the plan – calling it “an expensive and unproven experiment” and a “hidden gas tax.”
Committee staff admitted some uncertainty about the projected impact on gas prices but said there’s a potential in the ballpark of 9-23 cents at the 10% implementation level, and 18-46 cents at 20%.
Fitzgibbon said it is important to note it is not a tax – but addresses a need.
“The bill is intended first and foremost to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sector that emits more greenhouse gasses than any other sector,” he said.