King says Democrats’ attack on oil companies is attempt to steer focus from cap-and-trade’s effect on nation-leading gas prices

Sen. Curtis King, the ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee, said Gov. Jay Inslee is trying to deflect criticism aimed at him due to the major role that the state’s cap-and-trade program has played in Washington having the highest gas prices in the nation.

Inslee announced today that he wants legislation in 2024 targeting oil companies. King pointed out how Inslee pushed for the cap-and-trade program, which went into effect on Jan. 1 as part of the Climate Commitment Act passed by a Democrat-controlled Legislature in 2021.

“We have known since 2021, when the Climate Commitment Act was approved, that gas prices would rise significantly once the cap-and-trade program went into effect. That is exactly what has happened,” said King, R-Yakima. “It’s been much more than just ‘pennies a gallon,’ as the governor promised months ago. Several analysts reached the conclusion that cap-and-trade and other new environmental laws would raise the price of gas by 45-50 cents a gallon.

“The governor’s argument that oil companies are gouging gas consumers is not realistic. The plan all along was to create the cap-and-trade program and the low-carbon fuel standard so fuel prices would become a financial burden for drivers and get them to drive less and buy less fuel. Now that the cap-and-trade program is in place and causing gas prices to skyrocket, drivers are bitterly complaining about it, so the governor and his allies are trying to shift the blame instead of admitting that this is what they wanted all along.

“The governor today said he wants to find relief at the pump for drivers. If he really is serious, he’d show a willingness to alter the cap-and-trade program, if not eliminate it. Instead, the governor once again is demonizing oil companies instead of taking responsibility for the spike in gas prices this year.

“Blaming the brief pipeline shutdown for the highest gas prices in the nation is nonsense,” added King. “Gas prices have been on a steady rise since January, and it is caused by the cap-and-trade program. Our neighboring states, Oregon ($4.588 a gallon for regular gas) and Idaho ($3.892), have significantly lower gas prices than here in Washington ($4.928). They don’t have cap-and-trade. It’s clear that our state’s cap-and-trade program is why Washington has the highest gas prices in America.”

King noted that only six states currently have regular gas prices over $4 a gallon – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

“While most of America is enjoying gas prices below $4 a gallon, Washington drivers have had to pay about $5 a gallon for several weeks. Thanks to the Inslee cap-and-trade program, prices here are bound to only keep climbing,” said King.