California’s cap-&-trade program will — after a long, spirited confrontation between the state’s regulatory agencies and industry lobbyists — now cover companies that sell fuel to consumers.
The new rules went into effect on the first day of the new year — meaning that fuel retailers will now be forced to either switch to lower-carbon fuels or to purchase permits for the carbon emissions that they are responsible for.
Unsurprisingly, this move has been referred to by industry groups and representatives as a “hidden gas tax.” While there’s some truth to this, the move has pretty broad support — and, for that matter, shouldn’t impact consumer prices much.
And considering the difficult “problem” that such legislation is intended to address (climate change), if anything, the legislation is rather tame. If we’re being honest, it’s still nowhere near enough to really dent carbon emissions in the state. But it’s a start.
The industry groups mentioned before have been reporting, though, that gas prices in the state could rise by as much as $0.76 per gallon. The recent plunge in oil and gas prices mitigates any extra cost at the tank. Eventually, though, gas and oil prices will begin climbing again, and then this will have more effect.
For the time being, this recent move is unlikely to stir any significant public opposition — and can potentially do some good, helping to reduce the state’s emission somewhat over the next few years.
Image Credit: California Flag via Flickr CC
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