Gas prices are rising again and Californians need relief. Completely eliminating our highest-in-the-nation gas tax would be an important step, but that’s a non-starter as far as the Sacramento majority is concerned. But, with the Governor’s approval, other steps can be taken immediately.
Last week my colleagues and I wrote a letter to the Governor asking him to take concrete steps to help reduce the gasoline price spikes we’ve seen in recent weeks and to reduce or eliminate the cost increases likely to occur this summer. First of all, we ask that the transition from winter to summer-blend gasoline be delayed. Refineries can produce more winter-blend than summer-blend, which will increase supply and lower costs. We can also extend the partial diesel tax exemption to reduce commercial transportation costs and lower prices of consumer products. The exemption is currently scheduled to end September 30th – it should be extended.
The gas tax imposed on Californians by Senate Bill 1 in 2017 will soon increase, even though the tax is already more than 50 percent above the national average. The Governor proposed pausing the 6 percent increase scheduled in 2022, but the proposal was not implemented. This year we’re hoping he will reconsider, and suspend the 8 percent increase coming July 1st.
These proposals are small steps that can be taken immediately. Long-term, we’ll need to grapple with the fact that California is an energy island, and that the oil we use here is either drilled here, or shipped in by tanker. As with any commodity, the greater the supply, the lower the cost. But that’s another discussion we’ll need to have going forward. These proposals can be implemented now, with the stroke of a pen.
To view our letter to the Governor, please click here.