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California Gas Prices On The Rise


Last updated 7/22/2019 at 12:14am

With the temperatures on the rise for the summer, so are the gas prices. As you’re filling up your tank for a fun summer road trip or for your daily commute to work, you’ll notice it’ll cost you a bit more than usual.

California’s gas tax increased July 1, adding 5.6 cents to each gallon of regular unleaded fuel. Drivers who top off on a weekly basis will pay from $2.60 to $3.35 more a month.

The national average is just $2.68 per gallon. As of mid-June, Californian’s paid an average of $3.74 per gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

This is the second in a wave of increases approved by state leaders two years ago to raise billions of dollars for road and bridge repairs and mass transit.

The tax increase is an annual adjustment to the tax the state applies to a gallon of gas. In 2016, Californians paid about 28 cents in state taxes for a gallon of gas.

The tax increase is the result of Senate Bill 1, a 10-year tax and fee increase that aims to raise about $52 billion for transportation projects. The controversial gas tax increase was signed into law in 2017, adding 12 cents to each gallon of gas and 20 cents to each gallon of diesel.

Last year, former Governor Jerry Brown’s administration wanted to raise the rate by another four cents per gallon, but the Board of Equalization, which had authority over fuel taxes, rejected the request This saved drivers some money, but created a $617 million hole in the state budget.

The Board of Equalization no longer has influence over motor vehicle gas taxes. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration gained that authority.

Opponents targeted SB-1 during the November 2018 election, and launched a repeal effort that was ultimately shot down by voters.

Proponents have stressed that SB-1 is designed to raise money for road repairs across the Golden State. Prior to SB-1, the backlog of necessary road improvements totaled nearly $137 billion, according to Caltrans.

Last year, Caltrans touted a $17 million project to Interstate 10, Highway 111 and the Highway 86 Expressway that benefited from SB-1 funds.

About $4 billion is expected to be raised over a decade, paving the way for about 100 road projects to be completed since SB-1 was signed into law, with another 400 projects in the works. Completed projects include road pavings.

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