GOP says suspension would provide some relief amid high prices
By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Gas prices have soared across the U.S. over the past several months, and California lawmakers are at odds over the state’s highest-in-the-nation prices at the pump.
California Senate Republicans issued a statement on the matter, urging Democrats to suspend the state’s gas tax to provide consumers with some relief at the pump.
The state’s gas tax is currently 51.1 cents per gallon but is set to increase 5.6% to 53.9 cents per gallon on July 1. However, the total tax burden on a gallon of gas in California is $1.30.
It’s broken down by the gallon in a California Energy Commission report by taxing body:
- State excise tax (51 cents).
- Federal excise tax (18 cents).
- Low Carbon Fuel Standard (22 cents).
- Cap-and-trade tax (25 cents).
- Average state and local tax (12 cents),
- State underground storage tax (2 cents).
The average price for a gallon of regular gas in California averaged $6.371 per gallon as of Wednesday, according to the American Automobile Association. It’s more than $7 a gallon in certain areas.
In Santa Barbara County on Wednesday, the average price was $6.34 a gallon.
Republicans note that some Democrats support pausing the scheduled increase despite opposing the idea when Republicans proposed it earlier in the year.
“Democrats are feeling the heat. Californians are rightfully mad that the Democrat supermajority has done nothing but talk about alleviating the pain at the pump for 100 days,” Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clara, said in the news release.
California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, has pledged action on the issue, but Republicans are skeptical of his proposed course.
“Californians need more than Band-aid relief from high gas prices,” Speaker Rendon tweeted on Monday. “We need long-term solutions. Today, I announced the formation of a Select Committee on Gasoline Supply and Pricing. We’ll be asking why gas prices are so high and looking into solutions to ease the burden.”
California’s Senate Republicans argue that this approach has been tried before — and that it didn’t produce any results.
“Running for cover, Assembly Democrats are now calling for an investigation as to why gas prices are so high,” they wrote in their news release. “Been there, done that. Gov. (Gavin) Newsom made the same move in 2019, and nothing has changed, except for the price of gas.”
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason contributed to this story.