gas prices

Gas Tax Increases to 79 Cents Per Gallon

NBC 7 Responds explains why California's gas tax just increased

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It's no surprise that Californians pay some of the highest gas prices in the country. One reason for the high price is the amount of tax per gallon. On Wednesday, the state tax increased by 3.2 cents, pushing it to nearly half a dollar per gallon.

Wednesday's increase actually was prompted by a measure passed in 2017 that tied total taxes to corresponding fluctuations with inflation. In 2019, the tax increased by 5 cents per gallon.

People at a gas station in Escondido told NBC 7 Responds they weren't happy that the tax has been increasing.

"It's too much," George Aboud said. "I mean, people can't afford it. It really is unreasonable to pay that kind of taxes just on gas."

Between federal and state taxes, Californians are paying an extra 79 cents per gallon. Taxes are not the only reason, of course, that gas prices are so high. California has a special, more costly blend of fuel that drivers in other states are not required to purchase. Also, the state has fewer refineries than some others.

"We just kind of stick out there like a sore thumb," Aboud said.

This latest increase takes place when summer gas prices lower than usual, due in part to diminished demand created by the coronavirus pandemic, which has many drivers working from home and not facing any commuting time.

The money from the gas tax is supposed to be used for transportation projects, but some people are worried it will be used for other expenses. California's gas tax is by far the highest in the nation, compared to the average state gas tax of a quarter per gallon for the rest of the country.

Some drivers said on Wednesday that they thought the money from the gas tax is being used correctly.

"I believe it is and I hope it does," said Natalie Fernandez. "Every cent counts and it all adds up. Especially right now in times like this."

Consumer Bob's gas price forecast: San Diegans paid an average of $3.09 per gallon on July 1, much lower than the price last year at this time, when San Diegans paid an average of $3.78 per gallon.

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