Reps. Connors and Dye officially file Carbon Auction Rebate (CAR) bill to provide Washington vehicle owners with financial relief 

Registered vehicle owners in Washington would receive a $214 rebate check – or up to $428 per two-car family – next July under a proposal by Rep. April Connors and Rep. Mary Dye.

House Bill 2040, also known as the Carbon Auction Rebate (CAR), would use the $1.3 billion in excess revenue collected under the state’s new carbon allowance auctions to distribute an equal, one-time payment to all 6.8 million registered vehicle owners in Washington.

Out of respect for the initiative process, the bill expires on Oct. 31, prior to the next general election.

The CCA, passed by legislative Democrats in 2021, enacted a cap-and-trade program that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Cap-and-trade programs aim to reduce carbon emissions by putting a price on them.

The state’s program has raised about three times more revenue than anticipated – increasing the cost of gasoline by about 50 additional cents per gallon.

This summer, Washington had the highest average regular gasoline price in the nation, surpassing California. Today, the average cost of regular gasoline in Washington is the third highest in the nation at $4.15 per gallon, according to AAA.

“We have a choice,” said Connors, R-Kennewick. “The Legislature could decide how this $1.3 billion is spent or we could send it back to the people of Washington and let them decide for themselves. When the people are overtaxed – particularly at a time when so many are struggling financially – they deserve a refund.”      

“The CCA effectively doubled the gas tax, taking more than a billion dollars out of the pockets of people who could afford it the least,” said Dye, R-Pomeroy, ranking member on the House Environment and Energy Committee. “We won’t solve climate change by hamstringing the people who are the backbone of this economy.”

The CAR bill would not affect the CCA. The same regulated entities would face the same emissions cap, and carbon credit auctions would not change. The CAR bill would not disrupt investments already made by the Legislature in previous sessions using CCA revenue.

If the people vote to retain the CCA, the bill makes clear that the Legislature would intend to pass a new CAR bill that would make the payments permanent on an annual basis.

The 2024 legislative session is scheduled to convene on Jan. 8.  

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