Labor Day travelers in California are paying the highest gas prices ever for this time of the year, according to the Auto Club of Southern California’s Weekend Gas Watch.
The club is affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA), which found that the average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Golden State hit $4.40 on Friday, compared to the average national cost of $3.18.
California’s gas prices are the highest in the nation and have added fuel to the drive the recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. A special election is set for September 14, when voters will choose whether to remove him from office. Californians pay the nation’s highest gasoline taxes, paying 51.1 cents a gallon in-state fees. The state’s excise tax on gas most recently increased in July.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “That tax climbs almost every summer to account for inflation.”
“Republican lawmakers (in June) put forward a proposal to suspend state gas tax collections one year, citing the state’s unprecedented $80 billion budget surplus and the financial strains on Californians returning to commutes after COVID-19 restrictions,” The Bee reported. “Their proposal failed in the Democratic-led Legislature.”
The state gas tax increases are tied to a bill passed in 2017 to fund road repairs. California voters rejected a proposition to repeal the tax the following year.
Gas prices in many of the state’s major population centers are at the highest rates since October 2012, when prices in San Diego reached a record price of $4.72 a gallon.
“After the first weekly price drop of 2021 last month in many areas, local prices rose slightly last week after a brief refinery outage, but so far do not seem to be affected by Hurricane Ida-related issues since no oil or gasoline is supplied to California from Gulf Coast refineries,” said Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring. “Price increases all this year mean that Labor Day travelers will be paying the highest prices ever for this holiday, but the Auto Club expects that travelers will economize in other ways to cover that increased cost.”
Spring told The Daily Wire that families tend to dine at less expensive restaurants, or may choose to picnic, to compensate for the higher prices.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
In California, gas prices usually begin to drop in late August as the summer travel season ends. But Spring said demand has remained strong, keeping prices from falling. Prices, he said, will eventually drop over the next several weeks as the travel season ends and Southern California gas stations switch in late October to a new less-expensive blend of gasoline.
California’s strict environmental standards require the state gasoline formula to change twice a year. The Times previously reported, it changes “from a winter recipe to a summer blend designed to retard evaporation during warm-weather months.” The summer blend is more expensive to produce to meet air quality requirements.
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