Business / Economy

COMMENTARY: State Senate Works to Increase Fuel Prices in 2015 to Discourage Fossil Fuel Consumption

Fossil Fuels Production in California Under Organized Political Attack From Environmentalists

According to Robert Collier/Climate Speak California environmentalists have good reason to cheer. Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg has killed AB 69, which would have evicerated the state's clean energy policies under the guise of avoiding an increase in gasoline prices. But the fact that the bill came up at all, and received the support it did, is an ominous sign.

Steinberg, who also is chair of the Senate's Rules Committee, wrote a letter last week to Ass. Henry Perea that he was refusing to schedule a hearing on Perea's AB 69, which would have added a critical three-year delay to the scheduled Jan. 1 inclusion of transportation fuels to the state's cap and trade program under AB 32. It's a particularly blunt letter, well worth reading, here

AB 32 requires the Air Resources Board (ARB to) develop a Scoping Plan which lays out California’s strategy for meeting the goals. On Jan. 1, 2015, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels are going to be subject to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) cap-and-trade program. This will probably cause an immediate jump in prices at the pump. There are various estimates for how much the price spike will be, but an increase of about fifteen cents per gallon is likely and a much larger price hike is possible. A Scoping Plan must be updated every five years.  In December 2008, the Board approved the initial Scoping Plan, which included a suite of measures to sharply cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  In May 2014, ARB approved the First Update to the Climate Change Scoping Plan (Update), which builds upon the initial  Scoping Plan with new strategies and recommendations. The Update highlights California’s progress toward meeting the near-term 2020 GHG emission reduction goals, highlights the latest climate change science and provides direction on how to achieve long-term emission reduction goal described in Executive Order S-3-05. 

Reductions in GHG emissions will come from virtually all sectors of the economy and will be accomplished from a combination of policies, planning, direct regulations, market approaches, incentives and voluntary efforts. These efforts target GHG emission reductions from cars and trucks, electricity production, fuels, and other sources.  

There appears to be an inexorable march away from gasoline and diesel as state politicians work with environmentalists to stop fossil fuel production in California at "political gunpoint" toward renewable energy resources. This includes efforts in San Benito and Santa Barbara counties to limit or stop oil production by ballot box initiatives. 

Michael Smith

Pro-economic growth, pro-music, pro-science, pro-retirement.