Legislators continue to drive up the cost of fuels

gas prices 2The concept of reducing our emissions is correct, but show me some progress!

Cap and trade has been a revenue generator for the state since 2006. It has raised over $7 billion for the state, but after 10 years since AB32 was signed into law in 2006, according to the California Energy Commission, has yet to lower our 1 percent contribution to the world’s greenhouse gases. It has however been very effective in hitting citizens’ pocketbooks to fund a multitude of governmental pet projects.

We could shut down the entire state that represents only 0.5 percent of the world’s population, close all the airports, get rid of the 35 million vehicles, turn off all the generators, and shoot all the cows, and it would have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the global climate.

Fuel costs for the entire world, EXCEPT California, are primarily driven by the cost of crude oil to manufacture the fuels and by-products from crude oil that drives every industry sector and supports our current quality of life. With crude oil hovering around the $45 range vs. the $100 range a few years ago, we’re enjoying more affordable fuels than in previous years.

However, in California, it’s our legislators and their appointees that are directly responsible for California having higher costs for our fuels and energy than the other 49 states.

California already has five reasons for their cost of fuels being higher the rest of the country:

  1. California fuel taxes are among the highest in the country.
  2. To date, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, cap and trade has already added eleven cents to the price of gasoline.
  3. California has boutique fuel brands that no one else in the country currently makes. If other states chose to manufacture the California boutique fuels, the only way to get it to the California energy island is to ship it thru the Panama Canal to California ports.
  4. California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard increases the cost of the gasoline and diesel fuels produced from crude oil.
  5. To meet current demand, 10 million gallons of aviation fuels, and 40 million gallons of transportation fuels for our 35 million vehicles are manufactured DAILY in California which is the most environmentally regulated location on earth.

Our Legislators crusade to maintain the cap and trade “revenue generator” through 2030 provides the public with a dim forecast in the coming years as the burden of additional fuel costs will be falling completely on motorists and businesses. More cost increases that are coming are:

  • Starting in November 2017, SB1 will add significant tax increases to gasoline and diesel fuels, as well as higher registration fees to finance transportation infrastructure,
  • 4 years from now, according to estimates from the LAO, cap and trade could raise gas prices by another 63 cents per gallon in 2021, increasing to 73 cents per gallon in 2031.
  • California’s LCFS is expected to grow and overtake the cap and trade costs.

In the last 40 years, the California population has almost doubled to 38 million, but our air is cleaner today than it was in the 1970s. In the decade from 2006, California’s population has grown 1.077 percent to 38.8 million and we have less manufacturing jobs today than we had in 2006.

The inconvenient truth about AB32, as well as cap and trade, is that we now have higher gasoline prices and higher electricity costs. The coastal elites who support “going green” at all costs just don’t care that the working poor and struggling middle class living away from California’s coast are bearing the brunt of higher energy costs. Tellingly, our state has the worst poverty rate in the nation where 1 out of 5 California families are barely hanging on. Thus, it’s hard to understand the time and effort being extended on the subject of the emissions crusade that is obviously negatively impacting our poverty and homeless populations.

It’s our legislators that are causing the price of California fuels to increase, not the oil companies. With the approval to extend the cap and trade system to 2030, California’s top politicians will have immense effects on what consumers spend for gasoline and a myriad of other products and services.

Ronald Stein is founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily