What California blackouts, gas price spikes mean for Oregon

By Bob Clark,
Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

Back in the year 2012, world oil prices are still at a peak and California is preparing to launch in 2013 its Cap and Trade Program to reduce CO2 emissions.

Not to fall behind California, Oregon state politicians earlier this year (2019) attempt to enact approximately the same California Cap and Trade Program.

We have three basic observations today. (1) The price of crude oil, from which gasoline is refined, is 40% cheaper today than back in the year 2012. (2) This is a relief for the motorist in the U.S at large, as the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S is more than 25% cheaper today than in 2012.

(3) However, California motorists pay slightly more today for motor gasoline than in the year 2012. Oregon motorists pay about 15% less today than back in 2012. But then again California has Cap and Trade designed to steadily squeeze out fossil fuel intensive industry and consumption; and maybe luckily for Oregon motorists, Oregon still lags California in the green creed of a state Cap and Trade program.

What’s not to like about today’s California energy system, blackouts of over one million Californians in recent days – supposedly to prevent transmission lines from sparking and causing wildfires. Residents buying up locally high-priced gasoline to run power generators because of the blackouts, needing in some cases to keep their government subsidized Tesla automobiles charged. Now, California electric utilities, facing bankruptcy because of last year’s catastrophic wildfires, do preventive blackouts; and the California governor calls out the utilities as greedy – the usual political case of ‘round me up some scapegoats.’

But are high gasoline prices and blackouts in California possibly connected to the “green” political policies of California? It’s difficult to say with any certainty. But the responsible and unbiased politician in Oregon might give pause to adopting California’s green policies such as Cap and Trade. Just as a small inclination there may be a connection between being green and having power black outs: A recent article published on the “Watts Up with That” website reports that National Grid company research “admitted that renewables increased the unpredictability and volatility of the power supply which could lead to faults on the electricity network.” I.E what if the sparks igniting some of California’s wildfires are caused (in part or full) by increasing amounts of intermittent, scattered renewable power supply sources? Why “Green” then means “black” as in blackout.

We know already by observation “green” means “red” for the motorist’s pocketbook.

Three charts for your viewing: