The average price of regular unleaded gas in the state of California is about $4.18 per gallon, the highest in the nation by a considerable amount. It is expected to see higher gas prices in states like Hawaii and Alaska, where the cost of importing oil is much higher. But in California? Arizona, it’s neighbor to the southeast, only pays on average $2.90 per gallon of gas. The question is: why is California’s so high?
According to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, it’s the oil company’s fault. He claims big oil companies are conspiring against the state to keep gas prices high and are pushing inflation.
However, facts to the contrary are coming in.
In a state known for multiple years of tax increases, inflation on fees such as car registration, and rolling blackouts, its much more likely that the real answer is much closer to home than Newsom wants to admit.
And he isn’t the only Democratic governor in to be behind such outrageous prices.
In 2003, the election of former Democrat Governor Gray Davis was actually recalled due to his mishandling of the state’s budget, which included raising gas prices, implementing rolling blackouts, and raising California’s car registration fees. This allowed actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to take his place in the special election held that November. It was the second recall election to ever take place in US history.
But it seems California didn’t learn its lesson.
In 2017, Newsom’s predecessor, former Governor Jerry Brown, increased gas prices by 12 cents a gallon for its citizens and also raised the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents per gallon. In addition, annual vehicle license fees were charged an extra $25 to $175 each year, depending on the vehicle’s worth.
Apparently, Brown’s bill was a way to get the state’s roads fixed. However, numerous reports show that most of the money taken in by its efforts didn’t go towards the upkeep of California’s streets. According to California’s Transportation Agency, nearly $2.6 billion of the funds raised from the law were given in the form of grants to various recipients throughout the state in April of 2018.
So while brown promised better and safer streets, its citizens were charged a fortune in extra fees and taxes just so a few lucky people could get some extra cash.
Yeah, that sounds like a good use of funding. Not.
It’s no wonder that citizens were outraged enough by this news that they tried to have the law repealed in November of 2018. If repealed, gas prices throughout the state would have lowered considerably, to about $2 a gallon. However, they were unsuccessful. High taxes continued, and Brown continued to purge the state of its finances without any recourse.
You would think after seeing the kind of bad laws and policies put into place under Brown, the next governor would try to go a different route and try to offset these obnoxiously high prices. But it seems Newsom must have taken lessons from Brown on how to raise an ungodly amount of funds for his own political purposes, all while tricking citizens into handing out more money in gas prices because his antics are all too familiar.
According to a spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), “State and federal laws like the recently approved gas tax, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and other fuel-related taxes and fees add a little over 92 cents to each gallon of gas and have a profound impact on California’s businesses and communities.”
However, they aren’t the only ones talking about the high amount of taxes and fees. Seipmann says that taxes and charges in the state amount to nearly $1 per gallon. The rest of the country, in contrast, only sees about 52 cents per gallon (CPG) in gas tax.
As far as gas taxes and fees go, this puts California squarely in the seventh-highest place, according to the American Petroleum Institute. If we look at the same data on taxes alone, California ranks as number two, bringing taxes to a whopping 52 CPG.
According to some, that money isn’t being spent where it should. Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio says Newsom is only blaming oil companies to “draw attention away from his own fraud on gas prices – namely the raids he ordered on our gas revenues that shift money from road repairs to his pet projects.”
“Californians must hold him accountable.”