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The Hidden Impact of a Carbon Pollution “Fee”

Voters will be considering Initiative 1631 – a carbon “fee” – when they fill out their ballots this Fall. This gives us an opportunity to talk about the essentiality of trucking in our lives and how increased costs for the industry will impact consumers.

Every consumer good that is manufactured, grown or imported at some point will spend time on a truck. A truck has some pretty basic primary costs to operate: equipment, labor and fuel.  Depending on the type of operation, fuel can account for about 1/3 of operating costs for a trucking company.

Cost is a major reason the members of the Washington Trucking Associations are opposed to the carbon ballot initiative. Where possible, the added cost of fuel due to a carbon “fee” will be passed along to consumers.

However, one problem we see with this is the fact that out of state companies who fuel elsewhere are not subject to the tax; they are exempt altogether.  In this scenario, out of state trucks are favored over the myriad trucking companies that are located here in Washington – those who employ Washington families and deliver the goods that keep our economic engine running.

All consumers of fuel will pay increased prices at the pump. Then they will pay again, whether they realize it or not, in the goods and services they buy.

Trucking companies are already doing everything they can to get maximum fuel economy from their trucks, that’s just good business sense. Trucks manufactured today are the cleanest they have ever been.  Our industry looks forward to investing in new, cleaner power technologies when the time comes, however, to penalize the industry now only puts us at a disadvantage by favoring out of state companies – and it will only make it harder for us to adapt.

This “fee” on carbon picks winners and losers” Washington trucking companies stand to lose, and with that so do consumers, as they will be burdened with yet another regressive statewide tax.

Sheri Call is the Executive Vice President of the Washington Trucking Associations

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