STATEMENT: Just in time for summer driving, Inslee cap-and-tax scheme pushes Washington gas prices to highest in nation

Jun 21, 2023

CENTRALIA… The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Washington is now worst in the nation, and Senate Republican Leader John Braun says the state’s controversial cap-and-tax law is clearly the main driver of the price jump.

Braun, from Centralia, serves Washington’s largely rural 20th Legislative District. He offered this statement regarding the harm being caused to low- and middle-income Washington families, especially those in rural areas, by a law that functions as a gas tax while doing nothing to improve the state’s roads:

“No matter what you call it – cap-and-trade, cap-and-invest, or the more accurate cap-and-tax – this is also a case of bait-and-switch from Governor Inslee and the Democrats who currently run Olympia.

“Almost a year ago the governor defended this scheme by claiming any effect on gas prices would be ‘minimal’ or ‘pennies’ once 2023 arrived, and more of the law took hold. That was either ignorant or dishonest. A gallon of regular unleaded in our state cost $3.84 on average the first week of January. Today it’s $4.89. No one would call that ‘minimal’ or ‘pennies.’

“Those responsible for this harm keep trying to pin the shocking cost increase on the oil companies, yet I don’t hear them explaining why any oil producer would have incentive to raise prices in our state so dramatically in comparison to our neighbors. In Oregon you will pay $4.58 today, and $3.98 in Idaho. The Democrats’ cry of ‘price gouging’ just doesn’t stick when you set all the gas taxes aside and see Washington’s base cost is 20 cents more per gallon than Oregon and 54 cents more than Idaho.

“Midway through this year’s legislative session, as gas prices were falling most everywhere but here, Republicans again proposed a temporary suspension of the state gas tax. An immediate savings of nearly 50 cents per gallon obviously would have helped families lower their cost of living and employers lower the cost of doing business. But our Democratic colleagues showed no more empathy than they had in 2022, when Olympia had a $15 billion surplus and easily could have acted to make driving more affordable.

“If there is price gouging, it’s being done by the governor and his political allies. They have used the power of the state to turn carbon emissions into a commodity, as part of their crusade against fossil fuel and internal-combustion engines. And there’s no end in sight to the pain at the pump, just as the arrival of summer has people looking forward to some traveling and recreation. We must do better.”