January 15, 2020

Low-Carbon Fuel Standard proposals would be costly and inefficient (w/video)

By: Mike Ennis   Comments: 2
Gasoline prices would increase by up to 57 cents per gallon within 10 years, and diesel prices would rise by as much as 63 cents, under a proposal low-carbon fuel standard, according to a 2019 study by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. (Photo via Flickr)

In his State of the State address, Gov. Jay Inslee called for a clean fuel standard, also known as a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). A 2019 bill to implement such a rule, House Bill 1110, was reintroduced this year.

As lawmakers consider this proposal, it's important to keep in mind the potential costs and benefits, and weigh them carefully.

First, the costs, which are substantial.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), in a 2019 report, estimates that a low-carbon fuel standard would increase the cost of gasoline by up to 57 cents per gallon by 2030. Diesel would increase by up to 63 cents per gallon in the same 10-year timeframe.

The private sector would need to spend up to $2 billion to achieve compliance with a LCFS mandate.

And, remarkably, the clean air agency estimates that an LCFS would actually reduce the gross regional product (GRP) under every scenario it considered. In the scenario chosen, the LCFS would reduce the gross regional product across Washington state by $1.4 billion between its first year of implementation and 2030. And the agency's proposed rule has impacts that spread far beyond Seattle. 

The costs would hit commuters, families and businesses across the state. So what about the benefits?

The only potential air quality benefit demonstrated is a reduction in small particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers (called PM2.5), which the authors of the PSCAA study admit is "mainly as a result of federal vehicle standards."

The agency's economic analysis does not quantify any of the other pollutants that make up greenhouse gas emissions, nor does it offer any form of an estimate on how regional emissions would be improved by implementing a LCFS.

We can turn to California, which is a full decade into its own experiment with an LCFS. The answer there comes as a stark warning to officials in Washington.

California officials estimate that their own costly LCFS has only reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by 1.4%.

In fact, the California Legislative Analysis Office concludes that a LCFS is the most inefficient method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and recommends that California's leaders consider "modifying or eliminating" their LCFS altogether.


Donna k Hickok Jan 30

These taxes are KILLING THIS STATE!! From people to business small and large. You are taxing us out. JAY ENSLEE keeps this up with J DURKIN BLOCKING our vote when we the people say NO MORE!! JAY ENSLEE is out of control!!!when the entire state transportation system for people And product from Seattle to Spokane from Canada to oregon the gross product will not be delivered. Trucking companies and people CAN'T KEEP PAYING WHEN YOU MISAPROPREATE OUR MONEY!! You can't take care of the street people now,drugs are out of control because you turn your back and expect US TO PAY FOR YOUR MISTAKES. STOP IT JUST STOP!! you will never get voted in and you ALL know it so is this how you punish us by leaving us to pay and pay and farmers are leaving and have been just like businesses. It is a disgrace. SEATTLE IS DYING. BUT YOU ALL ARE KILLING THIS STATE

Donna hickok Jan 30

I bet it wont show you Dont want to see how all of us feel