California raked in $1 billion in first cap-and-trade auction of the year, and since they take place every quarter, it can look forward to raising about $4 billion this year.
December's auction brought in $400 million, so why so much more now? As of January 1, transportation fuels are included in the program.
This is a big deal. Until now, the program applied to a few hundred major stationary polluters - utilities, manufacturers and food processors. Now, it includes mobile sources - transportation fuels - which accounts for 40% of California's emissions, expanding it dramatically.
Refineries and fuel wholesalers have to pay for emissions tied to fuel sales. They passed the cost to motorists, raising gas prices about 10 cents a gallon at the pump.
Even with the number of permits raised substantially, prices held steady at $12.21 per carbon credit, which gives companies the right to emit 1 ton of carbon this year.
Last year, Quebec joined the program, so the province will get a share. When Quebec on board the program became the Western Climate Initiative.