SACRAMENTO — California’s nation-leading gas prices are set to climb even higher Monday, when the state gas tax increases another 5.6 cents a gallon.
It’s the latest increase from a 2017 law designed to raise about $5 billion a year for road and mass transit programs.
The total tax on gas reaches 47.3 cents a gallon Monday, according to the state Board of Equalization, and will continue to increase indefinitely starting next year to keep up with the California Consumer Price Index.
A 12 cent-per-gallon boost came November 2017, and voters last year rejected a Republican-led effort to repeal the law. But Southern California voters did recall one Democratic lawmaker who helped pass the measure.
Average in Fresno Area: $3.75
California motorists were paying an average $3.75 per gallon for regular gas as of late June — far above the national average of $2.71 calculated by AAA . The new gas tax will push the California average above $3.80.
In the Fresno area, the average for a gallon of gas in late June was $3.74, compared to $3.65 a year ago. The all-time high for the metro area is $4.63, set in June 2008.
Revenue from California’s gas tax is split between state and local governments, with much of going to fix potholes and rebuild crumbling roads and bridges. Some also is going to public transportation, biking and walking trails, and other projects.
Political Sniping Over Gas Prices
Republicans pointed out again that the tax is increasing even as Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democrats complained about high gas prices.
Newsom in April blamed possible “inappropriate industry practices” rather than higher taxes and stricter environmental rules, and California Energy Commission investigators subsequently pointed the finger at “possible market manipulation” by retailers.
The impending 5.6 cents per gallon boost “will make California less affordable and take another $850 million out of our families’ pocketbooks,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove of Bakersfield. Assembly Republicans floated an amendment to delay the increase, but majority Democrats blocked the attempt two weeks before the increase takes effect.