Augusta – Mainers
would see 40 cent per gallon increases in gasoline and heating oil taxes under a
proposal that will be considered by the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and
Technology Committee on Thursday, February 28th.
proposal, an effort to stem carbon emissions in Maine, begins by pricing a
broad group of fuels, including home heating oil, gasoline, kerosene and others
at $5 “per ton” of emissions created by consumption of the fuel, according to
the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
year for the next eight years, the price increases by $5 “per ton” of carbon emissions.
L.D. 434 is titled “An Act To Price Carbon Pollution in Maine” and is sponsored by Rep. Deane Rykerson (D – Kittery), who admitted in a news conference introducing the bill that it will cause gasoline and heating oil prices to increase.
Speaker Sara Gideon (D – Freeport) attended that press conference to support Rep. Rykerson, providing a glimpse of the bill’s support in the House chamber.
concerned about the hardship the tax increase would impose on rural Mainers and
those with lower incomes, who already struggle to make ends meet in Maine’s
The proposal will be heard just following Governor Janet Mills’ announcement that additional funds would be released to help low-income Mainers pay for heating fuel.
There are no current estimates related to how Maine’s LIHEAP program would be impacted by Rykerson’s proposal, but because the tax would be applied at the wholesale level and passed on to consumers, it is unlikely low-income or LIHEAP recipients would escape the tax.
Some estimates calculated from the proposal determined that some rural Mainers that commute could be forced to pay an additional $35 to $60 per week for gas and heating oil when the tax is fully implemented.