Maryland Democrats Make Higher Gas & Electricity Prices Their Policy Goal
Three Maryland House Democrats, David Trone, Dutch Ruppersberger, and Jamie Raskin, have sponsored Federal legislation to raise gasoline prices by 90 cents a gallon. Their bill, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2021 (H.R. 2307)
would create a brand new “Carbon Tax” set to the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels. [i] Their Carbon Tax rate begins at $15 per metric ton of CO2 in the first year but increases by $10 annually over subsequent years. [ii]
Gasoline prices would increase significantly. A Columbia University report, An Assessment of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, estimates that the Carbon Tax “would raise gas prices by as much as 90 cents per gallon by 2030.” [iii]
According to Yardeni Research, even before a new Carbon Tax, American households are already spending $5,000 a year on gasoline. That is up from about $2,800 a year ago and $3,800 as recently as March. An extra 90 cents a gallon to pay the Carbon Tax would add nearly another $1,000 to an average household’s costs. [iv]
Maryland’s Democratic legislative leadership shares the Trone, Ruppersberger, and Raskin position on gas prices. Governor Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot have both called for a special legislative session to reverse the state’s pending inflation gas tax increase due to take effect on July 1.[v]
Writing the legislative leadership, Comptroller Franchot said: “While there appears to be continued disagreement between the Governor and my office – and the Attorney General’s interpretation of law – on whether or not I have existing authority to suspend the automatic increase to the gas tax set to go into effect on July 1, one thing is for certain: the executive and legislative branches have unquestionable authority to prevent an 18% increase to the gas tax – from 36 cents to 43 cents – from taking effect.”[vi] [vii]
Instead, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones issued a nonsensical joint statement that utterly defies commonsense. [viii]
“The suggested elimination of the six-cent per gallon inflation adjustment on wholesale gas purchases would not result in Marylanders seeing a price reduction at the pump but would be a loss of over $200 million in funding dedicated to ensuring the safety of our State’s roads and bridges.”
Ferguson and Jones expect Marylanders to believe that consumers would not save any money if the state failed to collect $200 million in taxes. Their statement reflects the recurring unwillingness of those Democrats supporting higher energy prices to directly acknowledge that higher costs are not just a by-product of their energy policies. Higher prices reflect a goal in and of itself.
Yet another way to compare the more extended consequences of Democratic energy policies is to compare Blue-state and Red-state consumer electric prices. Six states gave Biden more than 60% of the vote. Blue state consumers pay an average of twice as much for electricity as the Red states that gave Trump at least 60% of the vote, a difference for a typical consumer using 12,000 kWh annually, which works out to $1,000 per year. [ix]
By 2030, according to the Columbia University report referenced earlier, the Carbon Tax would drive the price of electricity higher by 25–27%.[i] For Maryland households paying an average of $1,300 per year for electricity, an extra 25% adds over $300 to their cost of living.[ii]
Consider that the Trone, Ruppersberger, and Raskin’s Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act comes with a convoluted process in which, after government “administrative” costs are deducted, a “dividend” check is supposed to be returned to households. Even if the alleged dividend worked, the plan is for higher energy prices to be used for income redistribution.
If Representatives Trone, Ruppersberger, and Raskin have their way, they would add nearly a dollar to the cost of an average gallon of gas and an extra $300 to Maryland electricity rates.
In short, these Maryland Democrats’ climate agenda drives their desire to drive energy costs still higher.
[ii] All three sponsored the bill in both 2019 and 202;1 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/763
[iii] Columbia | SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy, An Assessment of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act; https://www.energypolicy.columbia.edu/research/report/assessment-energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act
[i] Columbia | SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy, An Assessment of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act; https://www.energypolicy.columbia.edu/research/report/assessment-energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act