AUGUSTA – State lawmakers are considering a bill that would add a fee on home heating oil, gasoline and other petroleum products.
Rep. Deane Rykerson, D-Kittery, sponsored the bill. He said the fee would start at 4 cents a gallon and increase to about 32 cents a gallon by 2027.
Rykerson said the idea behind the bill is to encourage people to switch to other forms of energy that leave a smaller carbon footprint. He said the fees would be returned to Mainers.
Jamie Py, CEO and president of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, disagreed.
“You’re not decreasing demand,” he said. “All you’re really doing is taking money out of people’s pockets, spinning it around, giving it to Augusta, and Augusta will spend it in some certain way,” he said, adding, “We think there’s a better way to do this. That is, encourage innovation, encourage new technology and encourage liquid bio-fuels.”
Opponents said the bill would not do anything to reduce carbon emissions and would be a financial burden for many Mainers.
Supporters are still studying how to fairly return those fees to Mainers.