The Increased Price of Gas: The Gas Tax

By Joseph Zimmerl:  Anyone who drives in California knows that gas here is expensive. If you have ever driven to Oregon, Nevada or Arizona you may have also noticed that gas there is much cheaper. In fact, the price of gas in California is 60¢ higher than the national average of $2.40.  As of April 17, 2017, Californians pay on average $3.00 per gallon. The only other state where gas is more expensive is Hawaii, where the average per gallon price is $3.06. 

California’s high gas prices are largely as a result of two things.  The first reason is because California has its own gas standards and those standards are tougher then the federal standards. The higher gas prices are as a result of fewer refineries making the mandated unique "Summer blend" of gas. Also, because there are fewer refineries California’s gas prices are more vulnerable to greater price fluctuations if a refinery shut downs. The other reason the gas prices are so high is because of California’s gas tax, which is currently 40.62¢ c per gallon. California’s gas tax is the fifth highest in the nation behind only Hawaii, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.


Unfortunately, California’s gas prices will likely increase in November because of a bill passed by the Assembly and Senate and expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB1 is a $5.2 billion dollar transportation bill which will raise the gas tax by 12¢ per gallon.  If signed into law, SB1 will make California’s gas tax the most expensive in the nation which will likely cause California to have the most expensive gas in the nation.