Opposition Grows to Oil Industry Bailout Bill

Opposition is intensifying to a proposed oil/gasoline industry bailout bill in Washington State, House Bill 1175/SB 5233.  Four organizations, Carbon Washington, 350 Seattle, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association joined Coltura in this sign-on letter asking legislators to reject the measure.

The legislation would cause the state to insure gas stations' liabilities relating to gasoline and diesel leaks from their underground storage tanks, but without the requiring risk assessments nor modernized tanks that a prudent insurer would require.  Gas station operators would have no incentive to modernize their tanks because they would be allowed to operate with old and failing tanks that contaminate groundwater and endanger public health.  Further, the proposed revenue source to pay for the liabilities, a roughly $.01 a gallon tax on gasoline (half of California's rate), would be insufficient to pay for more than 20% of the full cost of cleanup liabilities the state program would take on.

At the House Appropriations Committee hearing on the bill on February 1, representatives of the Western States Petroleum Association, the Petroleum Marketing Association, and the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency were the only ones to testify in favor.  Coltura and Carbon Washington testified in opposition, as did physician (and former Coltura board member) Paul Fredlund, on the grounds of public health.  Despite the opposition, the bill advanced to the House Rules Committee.  Sixty-eight people signed in against the measure, and 10 signed in favor.   

In the Senate Environment Committee, 50 signed in against, and 3 in favor, prior to a hearing on the bill that was canceled and has not been rescheduled.

Thanks to everyone who wrote their legislator or signed in at the hearing-- it made a big difference!

The Everett Herald editorialized strongly against the bailout bill.  KNKX radio also did a story on the bill.

Stay tuned for more updates!

EU approves ban on new fossil
fuel car sales beginning in 2035

The EU has approved a law banning the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the EU starting in 2035. Many European automakers have already announced their commitment to the transition. For instance, the CEO of Volkswagen announced last year that the brand will only produce electric cars as of 2033. The ban’s impact on total gasoline consumption will of course depend on which drivers make the switch to EVs. If the biggest gasoline users switch to EVs first, gasoline reduction will be much faster than if the biggest gasoline users switch last.


New Coltura Website

Come on by for a visit to our new and improved website. We will be launching our interactive gasoline consumption heatmap, gasoline data center and EV cost-savings calculator soon!

How many gas stations are leaking gasoline into the water and soil in your neighborhood? 

In California, there are thousands of gas station sites that are presently involved or have been involved in cleanups. Click here to see contaminated gas stations near you with high benzene levels and learn about their cleanup history.  Write to Eileen Sobeck, Executive Director of the California Water Board, to demand a cleanup gas station in your neighborhood. 

In Washington, there are more than 2,000 gas station sites where clean-up activity of some form has begun (most commonly site monitoring) but not completed. Enter your zip code here to find out and get more information on their toxic impact. Unhappy that high levels of gasoline, benzene, diesel and other chemicals are seeping into the water? Write Laura Watson, Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology, and demand they be cleaned up!

Culture Corner

EV ads had another great Super Bowl this year, with three bank-account busting commercials, estimated to cost over $140 million. Two are worthy conversation starters:  A spot by Ram spoofs male-enhancement commercials, featuring cringe-worthy couples talking about premature electrification. Meanwhile, over at GM, Will Ferrell and a crew of zombies parodied Netflix’s new deal to include EVs in their shows. 

Still, critics are right to push for more. Last year’s bowl had seven commercials featuring electric cars, and ad spots overall did little to reference the looming climate crisis. Viewers will be further disappointed that the cars promoted aren’t actually for sale - at GM, they are not expected to become available until later this Summer. Similarly, the Ram REV 1500 won't hit the market until 2024. While advertising buys are up, GM only sold 39,096 EVs in all of 2022 (under 2 percent of its total volume).

Tesla remains the elephant in the room of any EV conversation. While it did not spend a dime on Super Bowl ads, those from competitors still drove tremendous traffic to its website. Still, the art of turning the electric vehicle transition into the best advertising money can buy is a sign that culture is changing. People are ready to make the switch. It’s up to the car manufacturers to keep up.

Sonoma County Moves Toward New Gas Station Ban

The Sonoma County Planning Commission voted unanimously on February 2 to ban the construction of new gas stations in unincorporated Sonoma County. (Sonoma County cities Petaluma, Sebastopol, and Santa Rosa have already taken the step.)  Next step:  A full vote of the Sonoma County Supervisors on the ban is likely to occur later this Spring.  Read more here.

Gas Station of the Month: Huntington Dairy Arco 

This Arco station in the Huntington Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles has had a 24-year history of gasoline-related contamination, including high levels of MTBE, Xylenes, and other organic compounds dangerous to human health.  The station is located in an area with disproportionate environmental burdens per CalEnviroScreen and is located within a few feet of neighboring apartment buildings.  
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