Costs of clean-fuel standard higher than quoted

As legislators consider adopting a “low-carbon fuel standard,” (LCFS) carbon dioxide emissions from motor fuels, the myth that it costs only a penny or two per gallon has been repeated by many advocates, including the governor. This is not accurate.

The governor claims the fuel standard added only a penny per gallon in Oregon in 2018. What they leave out is that Oregon’s LCFS was only 10 percent implemented. In 2019, Oregon’s requirement increased to 15 percent and the cost more than doubled, reaching 2.4 cents per gallon. It is on track to cost more than 16 cents per gallon by 2025, when the regulations are fully implemented.

In Oregon, the price of the LCFS shot up nearly 50 percent in 2019. This is the trend in California as well over the past few years, where the cost is more than 30 percent higher than Oregon.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, which is considering a more aggressive LCFS, found the cost, would be up to 57 cents per gallon.

It is fine to argue that we need to reduce Washington’s carbon emissions. But, we should support policies that get the most environmental benefit for every dollar. An LCFS is one of the most expensive ways to cut carbon and we should be honest about the costs. Misleading on the cost will lead us in the wrong direction, causing us to adopt a policy that has high costs and wastes huge amounts of money that could more effectively reduce carbon emissions.

Todd Myers

Washington Policy Center

Seattle

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