California Gas-Tax Hike Hits Today

gas prices 2Call it the Stealth Gas-Tax Increase. Today California’s gas tax increases about 12 cents a gallon to pay for the newly budgeted $5.2 billion a year in supposed road repairs which the Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed last April.

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But few motorists will notice it. That’s because every Nov. 1 the state switches to what’s called the winter blend of gas, which is about 10 cents cheaper than the summer blend mandated from April 1 to Oct. 31. The summer blend costs more because it adds refinery steps to reduce pollution during the year’s hot, smoggy months.

The usual 10-cent reduction will be erased this year by the 12-cent increase, so the resulting 2-cent increase overall will hardly be on your radar. For a 15-gallon fill-up, it’s just 30 cents.

The “seeming” increase of 2 cents a gallon will appear to be a slight incline in cost for rebuilding the state’s roads, which TRIP, a national transportation research group, ranks as the worst in the nation.

But this respite from the nation’s highest gas taxes won’t last long.

The big impact will hit next April 1, when gas prices will have risen not just the 10 cents extra for the summer blend of gas, but also for the additional 12 cents for the new gas tax. Total: 22 cents per gallon. But of course, by then people for five months will have gotten used to the new, stealthy 12-cent gas tax. So they may only “feel” like gas went up 10 cents a gallon, as it always does on April 1.

Yet the new tax will be a collision to people’s wallets. Assume this for an average California family. Both spouses work. Together, they use 40 gallons a week driving to and from work, taking the kids to and from school and soccer practice and performing various errands. So the 12-cent new stealth tax totals $4.80 a week, or about $250 a year.

But what if the family, due to high housing costs, must commute long distances to work – say from Riverside to Orange County or Los Angeles. Then the cost of the stealth tax could rise to $500 or more a year.

But that’s not all. There’s also an additional Transportation Improvement Fee, which is really a tax, just to register your jalopy, bumping this annual ritual $25 to $175 a year, but averaging about $50.

All this detoured money could have gone for healthier food, schoolbooks, a college tuition savings plan, or just recreation for a family that works too long paying all the taxes that already hit them.

And there’s no guarantee the money will actually fix the roads the family drives on. The stealth taxes could be car-jacked during a recession, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did with earlier tax hikes for transportation during the 2008-10 Great Recession. With the state’s pension crisis accelerating, I predict the new taxes will be too tempting a target for a future Legislature and governor.

Indeed, even the new taxes paid at the gas pump will not fully go to fix the roads the cars ride on. According to the Legislative Analyst, $270 million will go to the transit and intercity rail program, $44 million to commuter rail and intercity rail, $100 million to bicycle and pedestrian projects and $108 million for parks and agriculture. And train and bus ridership is declining.

Although today’s tax increase is stealthy, its effect on the personal budgets of Californians will be substantial. And the state’s national reputation for fiscal irresponsibility continues out of control. It’s time to hit the brakes!

John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, is a state senator representing the 37th District.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Very sneaky, California comrades…
    Way to stick it to Cali drivers with your stealth timing…
    You all suck!!!

  2. There is no IIRC “summer blend” for #2 diesel, so all those who drive diesel powered pickemups will get hit with the full force of this tax increase.

  3. retiredxlr8r says

    Gov Brown is not a man of integrity or honesty.
    California’s legislature is bordering on tyranny with their regulation, taxes, waste of tax revenues, and their outright interference with Citizens God given rights.
    This tax revenue, just like all the rest will eventually end up paying down a debt that cannot be paid down. The train to no where is out of money, Browns infamous water tunnels are unfunded, of no value, and a waste of any money spent on it, and the gas tax is also a tax that will result in everything, I mean everything increasing in cost, food shelter, and clothing, you name it and Brown just raised the prices.
    And, all done without any remorse on Browns side because the taxpaying Citizen of California is a “Freeloader”!

  4. Andrew Kessel says

    Thanks for the Christmas present, Uncle Jerry, Now I can’t afford makeup for my new transgender new driver’s license…

  5. I wonder how many hands will be in this pot?!

  6. This is my opinion and prediction. If people wake up and see this crap going on, this will reap repercussions on the Left in next year elections!! Mark my word!!


  8. RIP OFF! I won’t forget at the ballot box next time around.
    FOX has identified CA, IL, NY as highest tax states and least business friendly in the nation, and guess what? They are all DEMOCRAT controlled states. In CA, take a GOOD LOOK at your Homeowners Insurance billing statement. Add about $500 more per year due to where you live relating to FIRES! We pay up the wazoo now! Complain if you can on BOTH of these issues.
    The only solution is to THROW out the Socialists who call themselves Democrats. They are 100% to blame for our financial mess they put us in as they have had the power for the last 30 years……………….

  9. John Matthews says

    It was Moonbeam that removed the gas tax from the highway fund that was to be used for road construction and put in the General fund to be spent any boondoggle that hit they fancy. I doubt that this 12 cents will ever go to highways.

  10. Yep I agree, all CA politicians suck big time and love to stick it to the constituents to cover for their stupidity and misappropriations of funds. When will the people of this state open their eyes and dump these idiots!!
    It’s time for a change of guards in this state people.

  11. Victoria Smith says

    While they increase the already heavily burdened taxpayers in this tyrannical state, those we are paying handsomely to do the people’s business, are involved in immorality. There is just not enough outrage to express the anger we should have toward these weasels.

  12. The one thing that nobody seems to also talk about is the diesel fuel tax hike also. You are going to see all your goods and services go up also – price of food and commodities will be going up because of the cost it will take to transport them. Who do you think is going to be paying for it? Pass it on to the consumers…….
    We also do not need the “special blend” because the oil companies have been able to create cleaner burning fuel without the “blend”.
    They burn more energy creating the “blend” than benefits our air quality.
    Also – vehicle registration is also going up. Electric vehicles only paying a $100?
    We must repeal this crazy legislation that we had no vote on!
    We need to figure out a way to get the state back to a two party system and undo the top two vote getters debacle! Bring back some common sense to California!

  13. I live 7 miles from NV. Guess where I buy my gas?
    CA can shove the gas pump nozzle where the sun don’t shine.

  14. Observationalist says

    22 cents by April? Don’t think so. The summer gas season as you established raises gas prices by 10 cents every year and then lowers after. The new tax is just that, 12 cents. The threshold increased.

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