Surging ahead

September 7, 2023

Yesterday was a milestone on the road to cheaper, cleaner transportation, as we drive toward a more prosperous economy for all of us. The Climate Commitment Act (CCA), recognized as the Gold Standard for climate policy in the US, raises revenue from polluters to invest in clean economy solutions. Revenue results from the CCA’s third quarterly auction were announced, and the data shows the program is robust and that regulated parties are serious about complying with the 7% annual reduction path for GHG emissions.

Hours before the Department of Ecology announcement, we gathered with the Nisqually Tribe, MTR Western, ZEV Co-Op, Purpose Driven Girl and their zero emission vehicles to unveil “SURGE” – our Strategy for the Urgent Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, putting the CCA revenues to work for the people of Washington. 

We highlighted that over 130,000 Washington residents and businesses are already saving more than $3 per gallon by driving electric, the equivalent cost of driving for less than $1.50 per gallon. We noted that Washington already offers the largest savings per tank of gasoline avoided. Washington should also be the cheapest state to purchase or lease an EV, new or used. That’s why we called on the Legislature to make a SURGE of investments to transition to cleaner—and cheaper—transportation fuels.  

Also yesterday, the Department of Commerce announced a process to invest $64 million into EV charging stations, part of the more than $2 billion in CCA funding from the 2023 Legislative session. Later this month, WSDOT will announce the results of their $31 million Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) funding.

Despite all this progress, the CCA is under attack. Paid signature gatherers are on the streets for a ballot measure to repeal the CCA. Bills are being proposed to weaken the CCA. The impact on prices at the pump are frequently overstated. Some oil industry actors are investing millions to gut the CCA. Polluters don’t like paying for the waste they dump into our air and water, and they don’t like funding the solutions we need that cut into demand for their product.

The facts are clear: The Climate Commitment Act is working. The costs passed down by the oil refiners, around 27 cents per gallon (or less than 50 cents per day for an average driver) per an analysis by the Clean & Prosperous Institute, are reasonable investments to fight climate change. The investments unlocked by the CCA insulate our economy against continued and unpredictable price volatility. We need to protect low-income consumers from this price impact and use some CCA funds for broader consumer protection as we accelerate the transition to cheaper driving and cleaner air.  

These near-term economic impacts are not existential threats. Climate change is our existential threat. Summers of choking smoke is our existential threat. Weakening the program does not solve the problem of volatile and increasing gasoline and diesel prices or deliver cleaner air and a more efficient economy.

We need not be held hostage to unpredictable gasoline prices, over which we have no control. We can switch to affordable, efficient electrical power. And CCA revenues are key to making that switch easier for drivers and businesses across the state. 

With your continued support and engagement, Clean & Prosperous Washington will remain at the forefront of Washington stakeholders protecting the CCA and accelerating its implementation. 

Please join our SURGE campaign so we can keep you updated on our progress and how you can help.

Coverage included stories in The Seattle Times, KNKX radio, and KIRO TV:  

Source: Seattle Times

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