California Republicans tell Newsom to suspend state gas tax as price of gallons rises to nearly $7 — twice the national average: ‘This is madness’
- The average price of gasoline in California was $6.078 per gallon on Friday, nearly double the national average
- Republicans have urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend the state’s gas tax to help struggling families cope
- Newsom has blamed oil companies for skyrocketing prices, but the state has the highest gas taxes in the country and is also plagued by problems at refineries
California Republicans have urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend the state’s gas tax as prices near an eye-watering $7 per gallon — nearly double the national average.
A letter to the governor warns that skyrocketing prices are impacting families’ “already tight budgets” and underscoring the vast divide between California and the rest of the United States.
AAA data shows the average cost per gallon in California was $6,079 on Friday, compared to a national average of $3,832. In the cheapest state, North Carolina, a gallon of gas costs an average of $3,449.
California’s gas tax is currently $0.58 per gallon, the highest in the country. But motorists then pay about $0.42 per gallon more for the state’s environmental initiatives, plus additional federal taxes.
Newsom has attributed the enormous additional costs to California drivers to oil companies’ profiteering. But critics say the state’s high tax rate, problems with refineries and environmental taxes are also causing the spike.
The average cost of a gallon of gasoline in California is approaching double the national average
A gas station in Los Angeles charged as much as $7.79 per gallon on Thursday
California Governor Gavin Newsom is blaming oil companies for imposing a “mysterious surcharge” on the state, but critics say high taxes and bad policies are behind the soaring per-gallon costs.
A letter from Republican lawmakers sent to Newsom on Thursday said: “Gas prices are rising again and Californians are paying $2 per gallon more than the rest of the country. Drivers spend more than $100 every month on gas alone.
‘These higher energy costs mean cuts to families’ budgets, which are already under pressure.
“We ask that you call a special session of the Legislature to temporarily suspend the state’s gas tax. Californians pay $0.58 per gallon to the state. Immediate help is needed.”
The letter describes California as an “energy island” that is dependent on other states and countries for the supply of its gas. “California is an energy island with isolated resources, leaving our state dependent on foreign imports when increased domestic production is not allowed,” the report said.
The letter added, “By suspending the gas tax, everyday Californians can better afford to commute to work and take their children to school.”
Gas prices have risen sharply across the country in recent weeks. Crude oil prices also hit a one-year high of $95 a barrel this week, with the increase passed on to consumers in the form of higher gas prices.
Newsom has said the state is trying to understand “this delta” between his state and the rest of the country.
California has the highest gas tax in the country, and consumers also have to pay costs related to environmental policies
Gas prices are seen at a Chevron gas station in Los Angeles on September 28, 2023
The price of a gallon of gas in California is about $2 more than many other states in the US
He has also accused oil companies of “ripping us off” with a “mysterious surcharge” and tried to enforce legislation that would stop companies from overcharging for oil.
The state has also suffered from planned and unplanned outages at refineries that supply gas. The disruptions have led to production shortages, causing prices at the pumps to rise.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said: “That puts enormous pressure on the petrol market and sends prices up, similar to what we saw last year.”
He said state government policies have made it “very difficult to be a refinery.”
Critics say California lacks the critical infrastructure needed to import oil from other states and also favors companies that provide clean energy.
California Assembly Republicans said, “This is madness. We have proposed suspending the gas tax, lowering rates, changing the blends, but it has all fallen on deaf ears. It doesn’t have to be this way, California.”