In a tweet Friday afternoon, Newsom announced that he would call a special session of the California legislature to pass legislation enacting a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. The tax proposal would come even though California already has the highest gas tax in the nation, as well as the highest gas prices. It also comes as the state has moved to ban the sale of new gas cars.
“NEW: I’m calling for a Special Session to address the greed of oil companies,” Newsom tweeted. “Gas prices are too high. Time to enact a windfall profits tax directly on oil companies that are ripping you off at the pump.”
Newsom’s move would likely pile on the punishment for California drivers, who are already dealing with the highest gas prices in the country. The statewide average price for a gallon of regular gasoline currently sits at $6.36, according to AAA. That is the highest price in the nation, and above $2.40 more than the national average of about $3.90 a gallon.
California also has the highest gas tax in the country. According to a 2021 report from the nonprofit Tax Foundation, California already imposes a combined 66.98 cents per gallon tax on gas. In June of this year, the state increased its gas excise tax by three cents. In total, taxes and fees make up $1.18 of California’s sky high-gas prices, KTLA reported. California’s Air Resource Board also imposes strict regulations on chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and sulfur, and imports much of its gasoline from the Middle East, The Daily Wire reported.
Conservatives blasted the move on Twitter.
“Only an economically illiterate Democrat would think enacting yet another state tax on petroleum companies will bring about a decrease in gas prices LOL,” conservative activist and former California Congressional candidate David Giglio replied. “You couldn’t make up this level of stupid if you tried.”
“Gas prices in Florida are half the price in California,” wrote Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign. “Why is it only California with $7 gas right now!”
“I just filled my tank for about half of what it costs in California,” talk radio host Mark Davis tweeted. “That oil company greed must be fiendishly selective toward the Golden State. Unless it’s something else making life hell in #Newsom’s #California.”
“Gas is .$80 cheaper in OR, $.90 in NV, and $1.80 in AZ than in CA,” the US Oil & Gas Association wrote. “Might it be the $1.19 more in tax per gallon your charge than your neighbors because you can? That seems a bit greedy actually…”
Newsom’s latest tax proposal comes as the state is moving to ban gas cars totally by 2035. The Air Resources Board imposed new regulations that would restrict the number of new gas-powered cars allowed to be sold in the state. By 2026, 35% of new cars sold in the state must be zero emissions; that number increases to 68% by 2030, and by 2035, 100% of new cars must be emission-free.