Do Washington State Residents Know Why Their Gasoline Prices Are So High Now?

Roger Caiazza

Recent reports note that gasoline prices in the State of Washington are now higher than California.  This is also the first year of Washington’s cap-and-invest program  a “comprehensive, market-based program to reduce carbon pollution and achieve the greenhouse gas limits” set in the Climate Commitment Act.  This post asks whether residents have connected that program to the cost increase.

Washington Climate Commitment Act

Although a bit late to the party for addressing the threat of climate change, Washington’s Climate Commitment Act appears to be even more aspirational than California and New York.  The Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) web page explains:

The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) caps and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Washington’s largest emitting sources and industries, allowing businesses to find the most efficient path to lower carbon emissions. This powerful program works alongside other critical climate policies to help Washington achieve its commitment to reducing GHG emissions by 95% by 2050.

The state plans in Washington, California, and New York all aim for net-zero emissions where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are equal to the amount of GHG that are removed.  Washington’s emission reduction target is 95% by 2050.  California is shooting for 85% by 2045 while New York’s target is 85% by 2050.  In addition to the target levels and dates there are differences in what GHG emissions are included, how the mass quantities are calculated, and which sectors of the economy must comply.  Nonetheless, I am sure a case can be made that Washington is the most aspirational.

A key component of the strategy of all three states is an emissions market program variation called cap-and-invest.  According to the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) the permits to emit a ton of pollution (the allowance) are distributed freely in a cap and trade program but in a cap-and-invest program the allowances are sold at auction and the proceeds are invested to enable the reductions required.  A more cynical description of the difference would say that cap and trade programs are market-based systems that encourage the free market to find the least cost approach to meet the limits while cap-and-invest programs are disguised carbon taxes.

Cap-and-invest Analytics

My primary interest at the moment is the New York State cap-and-invest program initiative.  As part of the stakeholder outreach process, on June 20, 2023 a webinar (presentation slide deck and session recording) on the program’s analysis inputs and methods that will “assess potential market outcomes and impact from the proposed New York Cap-and-Invest (NYCI) program”.  What caught my attention was a comment that the McKinsey Vivid Economics team would model the cap-and-invest auction and that they had done similar analytic projects for the State of Washington (Video at 13:42).

According to a Ecology web site the Vivid Economics report  shows “new climate change initiatives deliver significant benefits at minimal costs.”  I have never been impressed with most economic analyses of emissions trading program.  John von Neumann famously said “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.”  Many readers of this blog are skeptical about the value of global climate models because so many parameters are needed to simulate different physical processes in the atmosphere but at least there are physical relationships involved.  Analytical models of cap-and-invest programs parameterize just about everything including human behavior.  I have no confidence in their results.  During the webinar I asked whether the Vivid Economics model had been verified.  Not surprisingly there was no answer.

The Ecology web site report  specifically addressed gasoline price projections based on economic modeling:

Economic report shows little impact on gas prices

Washington’s new Clean Fuel Standard will mean less than a 1-cent per gallon difference in the price consumers pay at the gas pump in 2023, according to estimates in a third-party economic analysis. Prices could rise up to 2-cents in 2024, and 4-cents in 2025, the report shows. 

Ecology commissioned Berkeley Research Group to evaluate the Clean Fuel Standard’s impact on the retail cost of gas and diesel fuels, and the electricity for electric vehicles. Berkeley is an independent, globally-recognized consultant with a long track record of providing high-quality reports across a wide range of markets and industries.

Research shows regulations like the Clean Fuel Standard play a minor role in gas prices compared to the shifts in the U.S. economy and disruptions to crude oil supply and demand caused by global events, such as the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Legislators passed the Clean Fuel Standard in 2021. It will take effect in 2023. It requires fuel suppliers to gradually reduce the “carbon intensity” of transportation fuels 20% by 2038, enough to cut Washington’s statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 4.3 million metric tons per year. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, accounting for 45% of total emissions.

The analysis shows price impacts vary over the next 12 years, and then drop to nearly zero as the number of electric cars increase and there’s a shift to cleaner energy.

Read the report on the Clean Fuel Standard webpage.

What actually happened?  “The average cost of regular gasoline in Washington state has jumped by 32 cents over the past month to $4.93 a gallon, according to AAA” according to an article

California is no longer America’s most expensive state for gas.  Another article says that some experts connected the dots to the new legislation. 

Clearly the reasons for gasoline price volatility are always complicated. Another article explains:

What is causing the spike is a matter of intense debate. Some point to the state’s new “cap and invest” emissions program, which was implemented in January. The program sets a limit — or cap — on overall carbon emissions in the state and requires businesses (including fuel suppliers) to obtain allowances equal to their covered greenhouse gas emissions. These allowances can be obtained through quarterly auctions hosted by the Washington State Department of Ecology. They can also be bought and sold on a secondary market, similar to a stock or bond.

According to Todd Myers with the Washington Policy Center, this program means drivers will pay more at the pump.  “The way fuel suppliers in California and Washington have done it is that they have simply, rather than try to speculate what the future prices will be, incorporated the cost of the allowances immediately into gas prices,” Myers told KIRO Newsradio. “So, what you see is, the gas price almost immediately reflects what those prices are.”

But Luke Martland, Climate Commitment Act Implementation Manager with the state Department of Ecology, claimed it’s not that simple.  “What determines what we pay at the pump in Washington is supply and demand: The war in Ukraine, what Saudi Arabia may do, how much profit oil companies take from the sales. It’s a whole bunch of factors — and cap and invest might be one of those factors. But to say there’s a direct connection is simply not accurate.”

Patrick DeHaan, Head of Petroleum Analysis for GasBuddy, said the link between the cap-and-trade program and gas price increases is clear.

In my opinion, the key point is that the cost of Washington gasoline has risen more relative to the price increases elsewhere so that now Washington has the highest prices in the nation.  The first two auctions for the Washington cap-and-invest program sold 14,770,222 allowances and raised $780,829,117 averaging $52.87 per allowance.  According to the US Energy Information Administration 17.86 lbs of CO2 are emitted per gallon of finished motor gasoline which means that 112 gallons burned equals one ton.  That works out to $0.47 a gallon needed to cover the cost of allowances necessary to purchase the allowances and that is a unique Washington cost adder.  I agree with DeHaan – the link is clear.


There is a clear link between the pass-through cost that gasoline suppliers must pay and the fact that Washington State gasoline prices have increased more than other states.  One of the reasons for my obsession following similar policies in New York is that observed significant cost increases with little real benefits should engender a political response.  If it can be shown that there are real and significant costs as opposed to the “no real impact” claims made by net-zero proponents the politicians who supported these policies should be held accountable.  The question is whether the residents of Washington have figured out that their gasoline prices are so high because of the politicians who promulgated this policy.

 I would appreciate any feedback from Washington residents about the cost impacts of this cap-and-invest program policy.


Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.  He blogs about the RGGI program because he has been involved with it since its inception and nobody else apparently wants to review it.   This represents his opinion and not the opinion of any of his previous employers or any other company with which he has been associated.

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June 24, 2023 2:28 am

$4.93/us gal … lucky you !!

in UK we are paying £1.48/liter ( $7.11/us gal )

Reply to  1saveenergy
June 24, 2023 2:48 am

It varies by area – it’s between 1.49 and 1.51 in South London

1 gallon = 4.544 litres

Reply to  strativarius
June 24, 2023 4:45 am

That conversion is for an imperial gallon. 1.2 U.S. gallon = 1 imperial gallon.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Scissor
June 24, 2023 6:30 am

It’s kind of an interesting story. The imperial gallon only goes back 199 years. The US Customary Gallon is older and derives in part from older British standards and other European influences.

The US customary fluid ounce was originally defined as the volume of wine that weighs an ounce (1/16 of a pound mass).

In 1824 the UK standardized their fluid ounce as the volume of water that weighs an ounce. But the imperial pint is not 16 fl oz but 20!

Because alcohol is less dense than water, an ounce (wt) of water takes up less volume than an equal weight of wine (of course alcohol content of wine will vary, so the colonists’ metrology was a bit shaky).

Thus an imperial fluid ounce is SMALLER than a US customary fluid ounce. But, because the Brits decided on 20 imp fl oz in a pint, rather than 16, the imperial pint is BIGGER than the US pint. (16 slightly bigger ounces are still smaller than 20 slightly smaller ounces).

So I’m sure that you must be dying to know, why 20 ounces rather than the traditional 16? It is not actually because Brits liked their beer and wanted a bigger pint. (Or was it?)

Officially, it was based on wanting a fluid ounce of pure water at around room temperature to weigh an ounce, and at the same time, wanting a gallon of water to weigh 10 pounds. In that scheme, a gallon must be 10 lbs x 16 oz/lb = 160 oz. If 160 oz by weight is also by definition 160 fl oz of water, then a quart (or quarter gallon) is 40 fl oz, and a pint (half quart) is therefore 20 oz.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 24, 2023 9:51 am

I’m heading to London in a few weeks. I think I’ll enjoy my pints there a little more.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Scissor
June 24, 2023 11:26 am


Reply to  Rich Davis
June 26, 2023 8:53 pm

Dang! Now I’ve got to lug a scale, a quart jar, a gallon container, a 16 oz. and 20 oz. jar, to check this… oh, THWI!

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  strativarius
June 24, 2023 7:08 pm

Any man in the United States who has ever used a public restroom should know the conversion factor between gallons and liters. Printed on the top of almost every urinal anywhere is the legend “1 gpf 3.84 lpf,” where “gpf” and “lpf” stand for “gallon per flush” and “liters per flush”, respectively. When that’s all one has to read while relieving oneself, it tends to sink in…

June 24, 2023 2:47 am

$4.93 per gallon….

Be thankful it isn’t $8.63 per gallon like it is here!

Reply to  strativarius
June 24, 2023 4:47 am

I think I’ll put a couple of pebbles in my left shoe and go out for a jog.

Rich Davis
Reply to  strativarius
June 24, 2023 5:31 am

US gallon = 3.785L
USD = £0.79

£1.49/L = $7.14/US gal

When you’re 48% crazier than Seattle, you’re really in trouble.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 24, 2023 5:46 am

Gasoline was down to about $2.90-3.20/gallon in the Denver area recently but has been trending up for the past few weeks to about $3.35-3.70/gallon now. I’m afraid that with the idiots in charge it’s bound to get worse.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 24, 2023 5:54 am

“Free” health care, among other things.

Ron Long
June 24, 2023 3:36 am

Good report by Roger. For the Washington, and New York and California, carbon reduction schemes to achieve success (as measured by their supposed climate change impact) they must have an agreement with China and India to not offset their reductions by further increases. They don’t have such an agreement? They are running their economy into the ground for nothing? They are incidentally running the actual tax payers out of their socialist/marxist wannabe environment into saner states. How does this end well?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Ron Long
June 24, 2023 4:57 am

And let’s not forget that Woke-achusetts also has a nut zero plan. The big push right now is to stop all forestry. They think that not cutting trees will be a major way of “saving the planet”. Of course, as a forester for 50 years, I am livid over this. Our governor now has a moratorium on any cutting on state land- later they’ll try to do the same on private land.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ron Long
June 24, 2023 9:05 am

It doesn’t; the crazies will infect the sane States.

Reply to  Ron Long
June 25, 2023 10:17 am

Thank you. I agree with your frustration that these programs cannot possibly affect the problem that they are supposed to address.

Reply to  Ron Long
June 25, 2023 2:48 pm

It ends well in a generation or two when the leftists, who have don’t like to have kids, die off and the wiser, moral, and fecund Catholics and Mormons repopulate with people who hopefully learned from the epic failures of leftists. The wisdom for freedom and prosperity seems to skip generations. Those raised in it often don’t understand the principles that produced the prosperous situation they inherited.

Reply to  stinkerp
June 26, 2023 8:59 pm

 The wisdom for freedom and prosperity seems to skip generations. Those raised in it often don’t understand the principles that produced the prosperous situation they inherited.”

This has been DEMONSTRATED over countless generations. Why has no one learned?

Bob B.
June 24, 2023 3:52 am

The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) caps and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Washington’s largest emitting sources and industries, allowing businesses to find the most efficient path to lower carbon emissions.

I despise this type of misleading language. Rather than providing an opportunity for businesses as implied, the CCA Is actually forcing businesses to either change, pay, move out of state or fold.

Coeur de Lion
June 24, 2023 5:10 am

The objective is to reduce atmospheric CO2. Let all the Washington people watch the Keeling graph at Moana Loa and realise it ain’t gonna happen

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
June 24, 2023 9:17 pm

Incandescent light bulbs are now banned to save the earth. No effect seen in Atmospheric CO2 levels. They Koyoto protocols were written in 1997. Still no effect seen in Atmospheric CO2 levels. At some point, no effect from all climate legislation will be hard to justify for anyone.

June 24, 2023 5:10 am

I learned from the 2022 US election that some people will vote democrat no matter what only because of the issue of abortion. Gasoline could cost $2000/gallon, most people would be standing in bread lines every day, and each member of the democrat party could personally punch a puppy every day live on TV — it wouldn’t matter. These same people would still vote for the democrats because the republicans might ban abortion.

I once had a person tell me “I know the democrats are corrupt to the core. But the republicans are worse.” I wanted to say ‘based on what evidence?’, but I didn’t. I knew right there that this person would always blindly vote for a democrat, even if the local “representative” (*cough* *cough*) personally came to their house and cut off the thumbs of the entire family.

There are people who vote also blind vote republican too. And that is not good either.

The point of this is simple: It does not matter how high gasoline will cost, it does not matter how bad crime gets, it does not matter if people’s rights are taken away because of a virus — the democrat can safely get re-elected only because they support abortion. A politician’s only concern is to get elected or re-elected. The democrats know a significant number of people will blindly vote for them because abortion. Thus, all the democrats have to do is keep abortion legal and they will safely win the election. That was the lesson I learned in 2022.

Reply to  alexwade
June 24, 2023 5:37 am

I wonder how long they can keep these psychological operations going.

BTW, I can identify as a cat but not a black cat.

Reply to  Scissor
June 24, 2023 11:06 am

Have you tried a “cat of colour”?

Reply to  Scissor
June 26, 2023 9:02 pm

Yeh, but are you a cool cat?

More Soylent Green!
Reply to  alexwade
June 24, 2023 9:11 am

The funny thing about abortion in America is most people are both pro-life and pro-choice. How much of either depends upon the way the poll questions are asked.

However, it is clear to me that many pro-life activists would rather have abortion rights extremists elected than compromise.

Reply to  More Soylent Green!
June 24, 2023 12:01 pm

You can say the exact same thing about the we can kill em after they pop out crowd. The 10 to 20% of zealots on either end are defining the debate though. The media does see it as a winner for the left so they will keep on pimping it. Pretty nuts given many more important issues.

Reply to  More Soylent Green!
June 24, 2023 9:20 pm

63 million abortions in America since 1973 and no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels seen at all.

Rich Davis
June 24, 2023 5:36 am


I believe you made a typo there Roger. You must have meant asinine?

June 24, 2023 5:57 am

The thing is, the consultants may have not lied; they could be that stupid.
Or knew the results they were expected to come up with.

Reply to  FarmerBrett
June 25, 2023 10:15 am

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they produced the results that were expected. When New York does the same kind of analysis the projection will be little effect. It has always been about the money and the consultants are happy to produce what is desired for a price.

June 24, 2023 6:01 am

The blue states seem determined to drive out all the normal people, sending them to red and purple states, leaving only a rump state of extremist libs and warmunists.

Way to go, blue states! On the way to economic and political irrelevancy!

Steve Oregon
June 24, 2023 6:24 am

I can tell you Washington residents are clueless about the politician’s gas price hike.
An associate of mine owns a major gas station in southern Washington and raises the issue with his customers often. The have no idea their legislature and governor raised the price of gas as the did.
ALL of the Washington media parrots the politicians with NEVER any additional clarification or truth provided.
The short of it is Washington State is a thoroughly Democrat cesspool of public deceit and dysfunction.

Reply to  Steve Oregon
June 24, 2023 6:58 am

And…the morons who continue to vote lefty in WA, CA, NY, or anywhere else have no friggin’ clue that the gas station owner does not get rich off of their sale of gas. Very small percentage of gas sales goes to the owner/operator of stations. Glad I don’t live on the left coast any more.

Reply to  Steve Oregon
June 24, 2023 8:48 am

Don’t speak for all of us: some of us pay attention. The entire place — like so many “blue” states — is run by the city (Seattle/Olympia) which is surrounded by a sea of red.

It is of course those red rural areas that get punished the most. Almost makes you think like it was done intentionally ….

Steve Oregon
Reply to  waforests
June 24, 2023 9:56 pm

“The entire place — like so many “blue” states — is run by the city (Seattle/Olympia) which is surrounded by a sea of red.”
Sure, but your red southern WA Clark County elected a lefty democrat congresswoman over Joe Kent.

Reply to  Steve Oregon
June 26, 2023 9:06 pm

Consider the fraud, please. It IS everywhere, and entrenched.

June 24, 2023 7:23 am

As stated in the above article:

“This powerful program works alongside other critical climate policies to help Washington achieve its commitment to reducing GHG emissions by 95% by 2050.”
Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”)

Well, even if the state of Washington was able to achieve 100% elimination of man-made GHGs by 2050, it might at best eventually account for around a 0.001 C reduction in Earth’s lower atmosphere global average temperature.

Pure virtue signaling, nothing more . . . but at what total cost to the citizens of Washington?

Reply to  ToldYouSo
June 24, 2023 7:59 am

For reference, see for an analysis where Willis Eschenbach calculates the predicted global atmospheric temperature effect if Switzerland had never emitted man-made CO2 from 1858 to 2021. Calculated result is .0037 C.

Population of Switzerland = 8.7 million versus Washington state = 7.7 million.

2050-2023 = 27 years versus 2021-1950 (start of highest average rate of Swiss CO2 emissions) = 71 years

Also, I suspect (but cannot find the data to support) that Washington state has averaged much more renewable, green, hydropower per capita than has Switzerland.

Reply to  ToldYouSo
June 26, 2023 9:07 pm

Thank you.

Reply to  ToldYouSo
June 24, 2023 8:58 am

WA has one of the cleanest energy grids in the world on account of all the hydro we have. Compared to energy sector emissions, so emissions from at-the-pump fuel only accounts for a small portion of total emissions, meaning it’s only just slivers and shavings. There’s also the fact that western WA has massive carbon sinks in the form of all the coastal forests, which is regularly and conveniently ignored ….

Reply to  waforests
June 26, 2023 9:10 pm

Check out Avista’s plans towards “Clean Energy”. I have sent them several articles from WUWT… don’t suppose they absorb them, though.

Reply to  sturmudgeon
June 26, 2023 9:11 pm

BTW, their pamphlet about their “clean Energy” plans, pictures windmills.

June 24, 2023 7:29 am

Washington State gets 65% of its electrical energy from clean, renewable hydroelectric generation. WA also exports some of this hydro power to other States including CA. It therefore has extremely low electricity rates that are responsible for favorable GDP growth in spite of government spending far outgrowing private sector growth.

The State is run by extreme Leftist politicians who have the majority in every important place in government here including the WA State Supreme Court. So they pass draconian climate laws without viable opposition. Cap and trade along with “The Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) in 2019 which requires that all utilities eliminate coal by 2025 and provide carbon neutral electricity by 2030. Many stakeholders, utility officials and industry leaders warned that losing baseload sources like coal would increase the probability of brownouts and blackouts if demand increased, a likely occurrence in the next ten years.”

It is tax scheme to increase the size and control of State Government. The media here controls the narrative so most people are misinformed.

June 24, 2023 8:19 am

I live in Eastern WA and gas here today is $4.75/gallon and 30 miles south in Oregon it is $4.35/gallon. Last year the prices in Oregon and Washington were near equal. WA is abusing its constituents by taxing us to pay for our Governor’s pet environmental projects. None of which will amount to any meaningful decrease in wicked CO2. Neighbors and family members are unaware of the price gouging by our governor.

June 24, 2023 8:24 am

Luke Martland linkedin

On the board of the trading platform for the allowances bid on at the same time as directing the state program?

Reply to  Caroline
June 25, 2023 10:28 am

And they wonder why we think the system is rigged

June 24, 2023 8:46 am

I am *extremely* aware of what’s causing the price hike (in part because i pay attention; I also follow the WPC’s analysis).

This is a perfect example of politicians not understanding the policies they put in place. Inslee said it would simply be an increase of “pennies” (unless he meant 50 of them).

And it doesn’t even *do* anything: it doesn’t help the planet in a meaningful way, and it just hurts poor and rural folk the most.

John Hultquist
June 24, 2023 9:22 am

 Without look stuff up:
A Washington State initiative was passed a few years ago to raise taxes by about 25¢/gallon for each of two years. Roads and bridges were in need of repair and cost of labor and materials were increasing. Work around the State is noticeable. That is good.
Washington has no internal sources of petroleum. Imports have come from Alaska and B.C. to the Cherry Point Refinery. Also, gasoline reaches central WA at Moses Lake via the 531 mile Yellowstone Pipeline from Billings, MT. From Moses Lake, it is delivered by truck to farther destinations, such as where I live 71 miles west. All not so good.
I do not think most people in Washington State are aware of the cap-and-invest program. The State is about 60% Democrat affiliated and the elites from the Inslee administration on down are pleased with themselves. Summarizing: WA is leading in the green movement to save the Planet.
If the poor suffer – we don’t give a schist. Dreadful.

June 24, 2023 9:46 am

It’s not just idiots in Washington state, everyone is getting hit with bad public policy fire drills.

story tip


Big Ethanol vs. Electric VehiclesIt’s Godzilla vs. King Kong in the battle for subsidy primacy.
Big Ethanol vs. Electric Vehicles – WSJ

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized its long-awaited renewable fuel standards for 2023 to 2025. The standards dictate how much ethanol and other so-called biofuels must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Refiners have to buy credits if they don’t meet quotas, which raises the price of gasoline.

Corn farmers, ethanol producers and Iowa politicians are irate because the EPA didn’t increase the mandated volume for conventional renewable fuels. “The rule is totally inconsistent with this administration’s climate agenda because everybody knows that both biodiesel and ethanol is environmentally positive,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
June 26, 2023 9:15 pm

Well, it IS Grassley. He obviously hasn’t read anything about “ethanol”.

June 24, 2023 9:57 am

Can’t wait to hear the liberals screaming when they are forced back to the office full-time.
Also, consider the hidden energy costs for everything you buy at the store.

Janice Moore
June 24, 2023 10:02 am

Yes, some of us do. Answer: Democrats.

June 24, 2023 11:04 am

What is usually overlooked in these comparisons between US and UK gas costs is that in the US folks on average have to drive much greater distances and the UK has a much more developed road and rail transport system.

The “cap & invest” program is clearly a carbon tax and promoted by our departing governor Inslee but I doubt it will be met with much resistance by the credulous climate electorate here that have kept him in office for so long.

June 24, 2023 5:20 pm

Well the obvious answer is to buy a battery car to change the weather. Naturally that means refuelling times will have to be tightly controlled or transition costs could get completely out of hand-
Jemena sees big rewards for vehicle to grid services – big risks to unmanaged EV charging | RenewEconomy
and with legacy fuel taxes/excise falling EVs will have to be mileage taxed to replace them and naturally adjusted up regularly-
ZLEV road-user charge : VicRoads

Reply to  observa
June 24, 2023 5:51 pm

PS: It wouldn’t be appropriate to have struggletown racking up an annual debt like that so best like wifi TOU power meters if the mileage tax was read from the black box and slipped out of accounts fortnightly-
EU regulators make anti-speeding tech and ‘black box’ mandatory – Autoblog
Otherwise the car won’t charge again until it’s read and all paid up to date.

Beta Blocker
June 24, 2023 5:50 pm

I live in a rural area of the southeastern corner of the state in a place which is a wide spot in the road you would miss altogether if you didn’t already know it was there.

Concerns are being raised inside the local public utility districts, and among knowledgeable people familiar with energy issues in the US Northwest, that the coal plants which serve the region are being closed faster than they are being replaced.

A decade ago, the plan was to replace those coal plants with gas-fired power plants. Ten years later, new-build gas-fired power generation is completely off the table as an alternative to coal.

Nuclear hasn’t been formally rejected in Washington State, but the hard reality is that new-build nuclear couldn’t be delivered in a time-frame which would make any real difference to the emerging situation.

This trend towards closing coal-fired plants without replacement by equivalent generation is certain to continue and is even likely to accelerate as the Biden Administration and the EPA put more pressure on the region’s politicians and on the power utilities to reduce their carbon emissions in accordance with the EPA’s new emission rules.

The Western Electricity Coordination Council and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council are both downplaying the risks of electricity shortages in the US west and in the US northwest.

Inside the power planning models, megawatt-hours saved through energy conservation measures are being employed as fully equivalent to megawatt-hours generated and consumed. This is the means by which the risk of blackouts is being pencil-whipped away.

The bottom line is that the risk of blackouts occurring in the US Northwest is increasing rapidly. One independent risk analysis cited in a recent behind-the-paywall article in ANS Nuclear News sees our blackout risk increasing from 5% today in the year 2023 to greater than 25% after 2025.

Just like it is in California and in New York State, there isn’t one person in a hundred living in the US Northwest who has a clue about what is now happening with the reliability of our electricity supply.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
June 25, 2023 10:37 am

Thank you for the detailed response

June 24, 2023 6:03 pm

Washington state is a cesspool of liberalism.

Major Meteor
June 25, 2023 8:02 am

The impact this is having on Washington residents is that some of them are moving to states that have common sense. So moving to Tennessee I figure my cost of living is easily $5K to $6K less with about $500 per year of that being gas taxes and I don’t even drive much. So if I am handing them $6K per year, I just want to know what they do with that extra money. Doesn’t look like society or my family benefits from the extra burden at all. I’m out.

June 25, 2023 11:02 am

Thanks to all those who responded to my question. I summarized the relevant comments here.

Unfortunately, these responses are completely consistent with my experiences in New York. Very few people know about these programs and the potential ramifications. I am disappointed that even when Washington residents are confronted with inarguable proof that the programs are leading to significant cost increases that many of those affected still have not caught on.

I think the problem is that this issue and the programs to address it are just background noise. Every day there is another story claiming it is climate change is here now and once in a while there is a political statement bragging about doing something. When the time comes to vote, other issues are more important and the Progressives still get elected. The point is that they did not get elected to pursue the cockamamie climate change control programs even if they think that they did. How about a referendum to ask the people whether they want to proceed down this path?

Gary Pate
June 25, 2023 10:54 pm

I bought gas today at the Bonney Lake, WA Costco & it was $4.69/gal thats up over $.50/gal since I bought gas about 10 days ago.

All this to please the Climate Gods to spare us from a imaginary crisis.

Idiot Inslee will just give the money to NGO’s to further attack hard working Washingtonians.

June 26, 2023 7:47 am
June 26, 2023 8:47 pm

C’mon, Man… Politicians being held responsible??? Only in a sane world, and we are long past that.

June 26, 2023 8:48 pm

I saw it as low as $4.63 in Spokane, today. Don’t know what Costco price is.

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