Roper: Are $6 per gallon gas prices coming to Vermont?

Washington State sees highest gas prices in country following carbon tax

Gas prices in Seattle today, six months after implementing carbon tax.

by Rob Roper

It so happens I am in Seattle, Washington, this week helping my son settle into a new living/job situation, and one of the first things you notice when driving around this city is how absurdly expensive gasoline is. $5.30 per gallon of regular as opposed to the national average of $3.80 – a $1.50 difference according to AAA. What I see with my own eyes is closer to $5.50. That’s $88 to fill a sixteen-gallon tank. It’s the highest cost for gas in the nation, vying with California for that dubious distinction. But, if our policy makers in Montpelier have their way, California and Washington will soon have another competitor in that race: Vermont.

The reason for Washington’s astronomical prices at the pump is the passage in 2021 of a “cap and trade” program (aka a Carbon Tax) forcing certain businesses that generate greenhouse gas emissions (according to the state website: “business types include (but are not limited to) fuel suppliers, natural gas and electric utilities…”) to purchase carbon allowances in order to sell their product to consumers. This is much like the one our legislature just passed for home heating fuel (S.5), and just like the one the Vermont Climate Council is urging on our little state for motor fuels such as gas and diesel.

Washington’s carbon tax went into effect January of this year, the first quarterly auction of “carbon credits” took place on February 28, and since then its impact on per/gallon gas and diesel prices is estimated at somewhere between 41 and 55 cents — and steadily rising. It will be interesting to see what happens to home heating fuel prices when that market gears up as cold weather sets in. Some here are already raising that alarm.

Like Vermont, Washington lawmakers passed their own version of our Global Warming Solutions Act (theirs is called the “Climate Commitment Act”) mandating greenhouse gas reduction with targets starting in 2035 and reaching “net zero” by 2050. And, like Vermont, they did so under a smokescreen of misinformation and outright lies about what the program would do. The big lie – just as we’ve been hearing here in Vermont about the Clean Heat Standard carbon tax on home heating fuels – is that the cost increases resulting would only amount to “pennies.” Clever spin, I guess, as there’s no limit to the number of pennies they’re really talking about.

But that’s not the only complaint. As a story in Climate Wire summarizes, “[A]nger is rising among other groups, including some that had supported passage of the climate law, which say Democratic officials did not prepare the public for the costs.” That’s a nice way of saying the politicians deceived the public about the policy in order to pass it.

Among those aggrieved are Native American tribes who say the high prices are regressive and thus disproportionately hurting the poor. The farming and fishing communities claim that even though fuel for their industries was exempt from the law, obligated fuel dealers are adding the cost of the credits onto their bills anyway. The fuel dealers counterclaim that the onerous $10,000 per day fine for selling un-credited fuel is so onerous, coupled with the complicated nature of selling fuel to customers for whom you can’t ultimately know what they use the fuel for, means dealers can’t afford to make a mistake about who they charge and who they don’t. Vermont farmers and foresters should take note of this when similar promises are made to them by our own politicians and activists.

The impact of all this on Washington State residents’ cost of living and quality of life doesn’t look pleasant. Again in reference to that Climate Wire article, “The Department of Ecology recently drew criticism after quietly editing its webpage describing the climate law’s impacts: First, it said the program was expected to affect Washington’s gas prices by 1 to 3 percent; it was changed to say the department expects an impact of 1 to 3 percent on the entire state economy (emphasis added).

Oops. Not an insignificant typo there! Conveniently corrected after the law passed, of course. Vermonters can expect similar oopsie “typo” corrections when our Clean Heat Standard goes into full effect. But we can learn from Washington and avoid a carbon tax on gasoline. Our legislature hasn’t done it yet. Let’s make sure they cross it off their wish list.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics,

Categories: Commentary, Energy, Environment

16 replies »

    • Yes, it is akin to taxation without representation. In this case the Vermont Legislature ignored the people’s protests and appointed unelected bureaucrats to do their dirty work in hopes ignorant voters wouldn’t hold them responsible for the damage and blame it on climate change. I suggest flying the Gadsden flag above the slogan “Remember the Boston Tea Party” to reinforce it.

      “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.”

      • Appointing unelected representative to the regional effort writing rules for carbon taxes WAS and IS taxation without representation. How can this be constitutional? The state government will soon achieve their goal of 0 carbon emissions for the state. Nobody will be able to afford to go anywhere or do anything. Next on the agenda, “if you try to walk we’ll tax your feet”. (From the Beatles’ song, “Taxman”.

  1. Yes, more than likely as this is what happens when you have liberals making
    the rules………………. fools in charge !!

    Until normal thinking ” working ” people, stand up and vote these clowns out,
    get ready for $6 gasoline ………………..

  2. We will be the greenest, unemployed state in the nation.

    Farmers will not be be able to afford to work thei fields, workers will not be able to afford to get back and forth to work ( I guess I may have missed the infrastructure mass transit improvements), deliveries of goods, food supplies and services will have prices beyond affordability. You can add to this list I am sure.

    Another surreal moment in a series of surreal moments in this state.

    All is not despair. Free needles, Narcan vending machines, cannabis retail will prosper to keep the population in check. Soylent Green is looking better and better each day.( especially considering we will have assisted suicide to fill the pipeline.

    Let the chips fall where they may and wait for the pending outcry to follow a bit late.

  3. Sleepy Joe and his uber liberal John Kerry wing will do anything to promote EV’s even at the expense of our economy.

  4. The most effective solution would be to disband the un-elected “Climate Council” and rescind any of the recommendations made and laws that were passed due to their recommendation!

  5. Washington is solidly Democratic; Governor, 58/40 House, 29/20 Senate. Republicans there know what they have to do.

    Vermont Republicans also know what they need to do; party-wise and to attract the votes of Independents such as myself.

    Not much time left.

  6. The Vermont Climate Council are 3rd tier snake-oil salesmen. Not only do they make their living promoting the elixir of misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information – call it what you will, they can’t afford to tarnish their reputations, such as it may be, by admitting their gross negligence. The Vermont Climate Council are representative of real ‘climate deniers’.

    I recommend readers subscribe to the Epoch Times and watch the American Thought Leaders interview with Nobel Laureate John Clauser. It’s an extensive, hour-long discussion on the mythical effects of CO2 on our environment. Short of that, watch Dr. Clauser’s 14-minute opening remarks to the Conference on Quantum Information, June 2023.

    Caveat emptor. The sooner we consider ‘the other side of the story’, and make our own rational decisions, the better we will be for it.

  7. Sorry, Y’all getting the government you deserve. Maybe should stop worrying about fetuses and worrying about good governance.

    • Did you feel that way when you were a fetus I wonder? Stop worrying about fetuses? You mean, stop worrying about life? About babies? About other human beings?

      No thanks. I not only “worry” about the heinous slaughter of the unborn, I dedicate my own life to stopping it.

  8. What I want is someone to explain just what are these progressive voters getting for supporting this insanity from the legislature? They have been sold the snake oil elixir and swallowed the whole contents. Older low middle class democrats are hurting themselves. Are they too ignorant to understand why they can’t afford a better life due to bad policies like the climate hysteria, the push for green ($) energy, the constant racial, abortion, transgender, fossil fuel lies, diversity, equity and inclusion illusion. Has all this provided a better life for the average Vermonter? We apparently have a state full of voters void of critical thinking. At least that’s one of my opinions. Another one is mass mental disorder in the population. Since the republicans like losing so much and love RINOs, they are worthless. The voters can’t blame them for all the misery though because they haven’t been in power for decades. Just look at who our top republican leaders voted for, Joe Biden. The country is a mess, our state is a mess and soon to be worse. I guess we all have to wait until everything affects everyone and we all experience the final big flush. We cannot continue down this road and survive. For those waiting for someone to save them, it ain’t happening here!

  9. Vermont is a small state not just population-wise, but geographically as well & it borders NYS, MA, & NH. Most residents will just hop the border as they do to make innumerable purchases – and buy gas too.

    Next the crazy-azz legislature will attempt to pass a bill that will prohibit autos with VT tags from filling up out-of-state.

    Defund the VT legislature.

  10. So liberals, where is the plan for the state to retired all its diesel powered equipment and put electric snow plows on the road? And where is the plant to heat all state buildings with electric heating?

  11. This may be a ridiculous question, but why do our fuel dealers have to buy “credits” from some out of state snake oil salesman. I have forest land, (not under any gov’t overview, such as “current use”), why can’t I sell my “credits” to my favorite fuel dealer?

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