News and Commentary

California Set For Scheduled Gas Tax Increase At End Of Month
Midsection of man refueling car at gas station - stock photo Maskot via Getty Images
Maskot via Getty Images

In the midst of high fuel costs and rising inflation, California is set to raise the tax on gasoline at the end of the month.

A scheduled increase in the excise tax rate is due for July, which will add 3 cents per gallon to gas prices for California drivers.

The California state legislature could decide to delay the tax, or they could give Californians a rebate. Using the state’s budget surplus to hold off on the tax is up for debate, but some leading Democratic legislators aren’t going for that option.

“They think it’s possible that gas suppliers could eat up those savings and not pass them on to consumers. And also because they went through a very, very harrowing political battle when they passed this gas tax increase back in 2017,” Emily Hoeven, writer at CalMatters, said, per KCRW.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has pushed for a proposal to send $400 cards to California drivers to help with the costs, but the measure hasn’t gotten support in the Democrat-controlled state legislature. However, Hoeven noted that some legislators aren’t in favor of Newsom’s strategy and would rather give $200 checks to people based on income level.

“They say that leaves out the most vulnerable Californians, people who may not be able to afford a car and people that rely on public transit, and people that are feeling price hikes for groceries and other things in life,” Hoeven said.

The average price of gasoline in the county is currently $4.98, as of June 20, according to AAA. In California, the average is almost $6.34.

Californians have been struggling under high gas prices for some time, due in part to California’s excessive regulations placed on gas producers and importers.

As The Washington Post reported, California’s Air Resource Board has specific rules for chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, and sulfur, which impacts how gas importers and producers can operate. Due to the red tape, California brings in a lot of gas from the Middle East, Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, said, per the outlet.

The cost of diesel in the state is also putting pressure on industries and consumers. The current average in California is $6.99, and diesel is already taxed at 13% in the Golden State. 

Over the weekend, gas costs went down minimally in areas around the state. In L.A. County, the cost of regular gas went down for the sixth time in the previous week, but it still was at $6.422 as of Sunday. 

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