- Washington Governor Jay Inslee championed “climate policies” which are skyrocketing gas prices for the state’s residents.
- Washington’s gas prices are now just behind California’s after Inslee promised the carbon tax would lead to price increases of “just pennies” – statements that have been removed from the state’s website.
- The modus operandi of some state governments appears to be to mislead residents about the costs of their policies and then blame others when their policies end up rapidly raising energy prices.
- President Biden’s approach is similar…to promise low costs and high benefits and then to blame others when his policies lead to just the opposite.
In 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Climate Commitment Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state. This law required all businesses emitting carbon dioxide to purchase allowances from the state to allegedly offset their carbon dioxide emissions. These allowances are purchased during quarterly auctions hosted by the state Department of Ecology. Proponents indicated that gas prices would not rise more than 12 cents per gallon. However, between January and April, prices in Washington jumped by 45 cents. On September 5, The Center Square reported an average price of $5.09 per gallon across the state, with some stations charging $5.89 a gallon for regular gasoline. Only California has a higher average gasoline price at around $5.88 a gallon. The state’s original claim that it published downplaying the effects of the carbon tax was removed from the department’s website in May.
The impact of the carbon tax on gasoline prices was larger than the government claimed as more employers implemented Return-to-Office policies and commutes returned to pre-COVID levels. As a result, Washington has one of the highest gas prices in the country, which can be directly attributed to the carbon program that the state claimed would have “minimal impact.” Residents across Washington State are now bearing the financial burden of Governor Inslee’s aggressive “climate policies”.
Not All Were Believers of the State’s Promises
Using the data provided by the Department of Ecology, Washington Policy Center’s Environmental Director Todd Myers last year calculated that gas prices would increase by about 46 cents per gallon and diesel prices would increase by 56 cents per gallon. The Department of Ecology’s climate policy section manager Joel Creswell responded firmly, saying “I’m highly confident it’s not going to be 46 cents per gallon.” Following suit, the Department’s website claimed the impact on gas prices would be “about 1 percent to 3 percent in 2023.” Halfway through the year and based on calculations made from the cap and trade carbon auctions, gas prices increased 45 cents higher per gallon thanks to the program, impacting prices about 9 percent, or 3 to 9 times as much as promised by Mr. Creswell.
State officials put the blame elsewhere. State Senator Joe Ngyuen blamed collusion, price gouging, and the Olympic pipeline, as did Inslee, who has been an outspoken opponent of energy pipelines for a long time. Advocacy group Climate Solutions pointed to oil company greed, despite claiming just a week prior that raising gasoline prices was the point of the carbon program. The proceeds from the auctions would be used to pay for billions in “clean” energy investments. Washington raised an estimated $857 million in its first 2 auctions, on its way to obtain revenues to cover the $2.1 billion in climate projects that the state Legislature earmarked for the next two years. No one in the state is willing to be accountable for the mistake in gas prices or for intentionally deceiving Washington citizens. And perhaps, if officials had been honest about the cost, the Climate Commitment Act might not have passed.
Deceiving citizens is not how a democratic government should operate. In many cases, by the time the truth is known, the harm has already been done as the only major form of accountability is the election process, which could be years away. The “ends justify the means” governance structure should not be the norm, but the Biden administration seems to be following that same practice as Washington State– a government more focused on its own agenda than on integrity.
Biden also blamed high gasoline prices on oil company greed. However, Biden has been and is deceiving the American public in numerous ways. Biden has used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce gasoline prices during an election year, despite its emergency use purpose, and has not refilled the 260 million barrels he sold. He has removed millions of acres from oil and gas development that will increase gasoline prices in the future. He has proposed regulations to remove gasoline vehicles from sale and force expensive sales of electric vehicles that will change the entire transport system in America, which is the major goal. He is heavily subsidizing renewable energy to support increased electricity demand from electric vehicles as well as removing fossil fuels that generate the majority of electricity from the generating system. The goal is not feasible as the technologies are intermittent, cannot do the job and the grid infrastructure is not there to support them. The end result of his climate programs is a win for China, who dominates the battery supply chain and the critical mineral industry needed for manufacture of the new technologies, and is rapidly increasing energy prices for Americans.
Governments need to be transparent, and the media needs to be objective, presenting both sides of an issue. An engaged citizenry kept informed with honest reporting could keep the American dream going and the country prosperous.
Washington Governor Inslee’s administration deceived the state’s residents into believing that the carbon cap and trade program and associated carbon price would increase gasoline prices by only pennies, when the actual price increase made Washington one of the highest priced gasoline states in the country with prices near those of California. “This is going to have a minimal impact, if any, pennies. We are talking about pennies,” Governor Inslee’s claimed. The “minimal impact” of Washington State’s carbon program turned out to be a whole lot of “pennies.” Inslee’s Department of Ecology made sure to change the language on its website, hiding previous claims when the true prices emerged. Carbon taxes, either direct or through a cap and trade program will hurt consumers and drivers, as Washington State residents have found.