House Democrats pass controversial low-carbon fuel standard mandate

New, expensive program could raise the cost of gas by 57 cents for Washingtonians

House Democrats passed controversial legislation today that would create a low-carbon fuel standard mandate in Washington state. After a lengthy floor fight, and despite bipartisan opposition, House Bill 1110 passed on a 52-44 vote.     

House Bill 1110 would authorize the state Department of Ecology to create a clean fuels program, by rule, to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels per unit. It would also eliminate the consumer protection provision in the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation plan that stated if a low-carbon fuel standard is adopted, by rule, money would shift from other transportation accounts into the motor vehicle account.

Ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia:

“Under the dome, we have one common agreement. The state has a responsibility to protect the environment and future generations. The disagreement comes with the solutions on the best ways to achieve this goal.

“Republicans are committed to economically sustainable environmental policies that do not place extra costs and financial burdens on the taxpayers of Washington state. Unfortunately, the majority party feels it is more important to continue to tax the people of this state through increased fuel costs, increased costs in the transportation of goods and services, and ultimately the increased price of food.

“There is no doubt that this low-carbon fuel standard is a regressive tax that will put more financial burdens on those who can least afford it. We must do better for the people of Washington state.”

According to the Puget Sound Regional Transportation Fuels Analysis Final Report from September 2019, the new program could:

  • raise the cost of gas by up to 57 cents per gallon by 2030;
  • raise the cost of diesel by up to 63 cents per gallon by 2030;
  • result in job losses; and
  • reduce Gross Regional Product.

House Republican Floor Leader Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic:

“The public said ‘no’ to excessive taxes on car tabs, yet the majority party continues to ignore the will of the voters. This bill will increase the cost of food, goods and even going to work. This is a tax on the working class.

“Once again, the hardworking families and individuals of this state will pay more for the misguided, feel-good policies originating from downtown Seattle.”

Every House Republican voted against House Bill 1110. The measure, which also passed the House in the 2019 legislative session, now heads to the Senate for consideration. It died in the Senate Transportation Committee last year.    

The 2020 legislative session began on January 13 and is scheduled to run 60 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications