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How the low-carbon fuel standard may hurt working class families

(File, Associated Press)

Governor Inslee and Democrats in Olympia are once again pushing a low-carbon fuel standard, in an effort to encourage greener options in the state fuel market. But critics argue that it will greatly cost the state and have little return on investment.

Randy Pepple is with the group Affordable Fuel Washington, and he joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio to discuss why he finds the bill to be the wrong approach.

“In House Bill 1091, the LCFS (low-carbon fuel standard), from the government’s own studies, indicate that LCFS could add 57 cents to the cost of gasoline, and 61 cents or 63 cents for the cost of diesel. We’re talking about magnitudes to that level between now and 2030 as part of this program, and every study that’s been done has shown that an LCFS drives up costs,” Pepple said. “It’s the most expensive and the least effective way to reduce emissions.”

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Who will get hit the hardest? Pepple says working class people in Eastern Washington will have to disproportionately shoulder the added cost.

“The people who can least afford it, the folks who have to fill up their car to drive to work, the union guy who goes into a job a county away and has to fill up his tank every day. It’s the folks in Eastern Washington that have to get goods to market. They are the ones that have to disproportionately pay this tax,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that the proponents continue to push this when the benefit is so small, that there’s no funding for transportation infrastructure that comes out of an LCFS, 75% of the money that would be generated goes to businesses out of state,” he continued. “I mean, what state puts the burden of costs on its citizens so that the benefits could go to another state?”

Pepple says this end result is what happened when Oregon and California went ahead with similar legislation.

“What you have seen in the two states that have done this so far — California and Oregon — is that to generate the fuel for an LCFS, they have to buy fuel stocks that they do not produce, and so they have to buy them from other states, primarily the Midwest, … ethanol, corn, or they have to buy it from out of country,” he said.

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“And the proponents are saying, ‘Oh, we will build those industries here,’ with little regard for the fact that hasn’t happened in California, it hasn’t happened in Oregon — the two other states that have an LCFS,” he added. “They’re promising something that will not happen.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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