US Farmers Raise Alarm Over Illegal Diesel Surcharges

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News in brief: Farmers in the Washington DC area are facing illegal fuel surcharges from suppliers, resulting in significant additional costs of up to $500 per day on diesel. The state’s Climate Commitment Act exempted farmers from such fees, but some suppliers are passing the charges to farmers, prompting calls for action due to a flawed system lacking punitive measures against erring suppliers.

Farmers in Washington DC area are complaining about illegal fuel surcharges that suppliers are imposing on them, according to a local news source. It now sees many farmers to paying up to $500 a day on diesel.

A fuel surcharge attached to the state’s Climate Commitment Act, which seeks to cut greenhouse emissions through carbon capturing, went into effect earlier in the year. Under the Act, farmers were exempt from the fee.

However, farmers are now calling attention of the authorities to activities of some suppliers who are passing the charges to farmers, which they describe as illegal. Many are lamenting the costs because some who burn an average of 250 gallons of diesel per day, do so at an extra 68 cents per gallon.

They have blamed the Washington state Department of Ecology for a flawed system that they claim provides no way for suppliers to track and report exempt fuels. This loophole allows suppliers simply pass the cost on to customers. Farmers also noted with dismay that the law has no punitive action or fines against erring suppliers.

The Washington Policy Center assesses that the state’s farmers are paying an additional $33 million in diesel, alone, in 2023. Executive Director of the Washington Dairy Farm Federation, Dan Wood, describes it as a poor strategy of justifying suppliers’ theft, in a comment to the press. He said that distributors claim to be picking the pockets of farmers and because the refineries are doing the same to them.

Wood, however, disclosed that his federation is publishing the names of fuel distributors who are not adding the surcharge. He expects that this will help farmers get fuel at no extra cost at published stations, and force the others to stop charges over eventual low patronage.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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