These Seven Firms Bear $3 Billion Brunt of California Cap-and-Trade

  • Oil industry bill for cap-and-trade may reach $3 billion: BI
  • Climate-change rules add about 12 cents a gallon to pump price

The bill from battling climate change is just about due in California, and for some oil companies that do business in the state, it’s in the nine figures.

The Golden State’s biggest fuel suppliers, led by Tesoro Corp. and Chevron Corp., face the biggest costs under California’s carbon cap-and-trade system, among expenses that may top $3 billion a year for the whole industry, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report released Tuesday.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Source: LADWP

The emissions-trading program, the most extensive of its kind in the U.S., requires refiners, power plants and other polluters to pay for each ton of climate-changing carbon dioxide they release by buying “allowances" from the state. That may cost Tesoro, the state’s largest emitter, more than $700 million annually, about 20 percent of its current operating expenses, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Chevron may be on the hook for $580 million, about 9 percent of its worldwide expenses, based on 2014 emissions.

“Most of the company’s allowance costs will probably be passed along to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices, but the company may end up taking on some of the cost burden," Bloomberg Intelligence analysts including Rob Barnett said.

Carbon allowances, trading at around $13 a metric ton, add about 12 cents to the retail price of a gallon of gasoline, the analysts estimated. While more efficient vehicles may lower the tab for drivers, the report showed the metric-ton cost of carbon in California is set to rise. The minimum price for allowances, known as the “floor price,” is expected to roughly double over a decade, according to the report.

The trading system is part of California’s efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The state’s also seeking to halve its oil use by then.

Messages left for spokespeople at Chevron and Tesoro weren’t immediately returned on Tuesday.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE