A new proposal in the Washington State Legislature suggests providing drivers with a fuel rebate check.
CAR Bill: Rebates for Washington Drivers Amidst Surging Gas Prices
Representatives April Connors and Mary Dye proposed House Bill 2040, the Carbon Auction Rebate, in Washington State. The idea would give Washington’s 6.8 million registered vehicle owners a one-time payment from the state’s cap-and-trade carbon allowance auctions’ $1.3 billion surplus.
The carbon auctions, launched as part of the 2021 Climate Commitment Act, were supposed to raise $574 million, but this year’s receipts surpassed expectations at $2 billion.
Rep. Connors admitted that the refund may not offset increased gas prices entirely, but it is a meaningful benefit. In July, households with two automobiles might get $360 in rebate checks. The carbon tax, which raised Washington’s gas prices by 50 cents, has been controversial.
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Defending Carbon Auctions: Governor’s Office Emphasizes Environmental Investments
Gov. Jay Inslee’s spokesperson, Mike Faulk, defended the carbon auctions, arguing that large polluters contribute to environmental damage by funding them. According to Faulk, auction revenue funds free transportation for kids, heat pumps for low-income homes, electric school buses, and state job attractions. Governor Inslee’s 2024 supplemental budget proposes a $200 Climate Commitment Act (CCA) power bill credit for low- and moderate-income households.
The CAR bill would deliver rebate cheques without harming the CCA or Legislature-made investments utilizing CCA income. Let’s Go Washington, a voter advocacy group, presented Initiative 2117 to the Legislature to abolish the cap-and-trade statute. If the initiative receives enough validated signatures, it will be presented to the Legislature and placed on the 2024 ballot if not passed. The Legislature begins its 60-day regular session on January 8.