Washington Legislators Move Closer to Voting on Clean Fuels Standard

Source: By Jeremy Martin, Union of Concerned Scientists • Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

OLYMPIA, WA—A bill (HB 1110) that would establish a clean fuels standard in Washington to reduce the demand for gasoline, reduce air pollution and address the climate emergency is moving through the legislature and will be heard next month by the Senate Transportation Committee. The largest source of global warming pollution in Washington state is transportation, namely the burning of petroleum-based fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.

The legislation would require fuel producers to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels by 20 percent by 2035. British Columbia, California and Oregon have similar fuel programs.

Below is a statement by Jeremy Martin, senior scientist and director of clean fuels policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is a national expert on fuel policy.

“A clean fuels standard is good for the climate and good for Washingtonians’ wallets. Over time this policy will reduce Washington’s carbon emissions and air pollution, spur investments in alternative cleaner fuels, such as electricity, and protect drivers from oil market volatility and huge spikes in gasoline prices.

“If passed, this standard will make it cheaper to fuel cars with electricity than with gasoline because electricity has lower and more stable prices than oil. That’s good because fully three quarters of the state’s electricity is produced in state by hydropower and renewable resources, and by 2040, all the power produced in state will be clean.

“Yet, because drivers are sensitive to immediate increases in gasoline prices, the oil and petroleum lobby likely will attack this clean fuel proposal by exaggerating its cost to drivers. Oil companies earn more when drivers use more gasoline. Moving to cleaner fuels is clearly a threat to their future profits. Consumers should see through the petroleum lobby’s self-interested manipulation and support a clean fuels standard that will significantly reduce the state’s carbon emissions and air pollution through technologies like electrification and fuel switching.”