Taxes, Fees, and Mismanagement Have Led to the Highest Gas Pries in the Nation

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Cost of CA Gas Taxes & Fees
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CA Diesel Taxes & Fees

Why CA Gas Is So Expensive

GasBuddy ranks California highest in the nation in gas prices. How did this state of affairs occur and why should we be concerned about it? While California motorists certainly suffer steep gas taxes, gas taxes are only one of the policies that have led us to where we are today.

The price of gas impacts all Californians, whether you drive or not, but the poor and working poor suffer the most because they often must commute the longest distances and devote the greatest share of their household budget to fuel.

There are no simple answers to California’s high gas prices. The problem is multifaceted and includes, although is not limited, to the following issues:

The gas taxes paid by Californians are among the highest in the nation, at over 70 cents a gallon, according to an analysis by the American Petroleum Institute. These taxes are meant to be used to maintain California’s roads. However, the state of our roads has clearly not benefitted from these high taxes. Studies rank California roads among the nation’s worst, billions in taxes intended for roads have been diverted to other purposes, and CalTrans has been the subject of investigations by the State Auditor over waste, fraud, and abuse totaling in the hundreds of millions.

Fair Ballot Descriptions

When Californians placed a measure on the ballot (Proposition 6) to repeal a recently imposed gas tax increase, the partisan Attorney General gave the measure a title that omitted the words “gas” or “tax.”Although polls preceding the election showed strong support for gas tax repeal, the measure narrowly lost, likely at least in part due to confusion from the misleading ballot title.California’s direct democracy program allows citizens to put proposals on the ballot. By signing and circulating petitions, citizens can put laws approved by politicians to a vote of the people or can put forward their own policy proposals for a popular vote.However, for this system to work as intended, voters must be provided objective ballot titles and summaries. Removing the Attorney General’s power to write biased ballot descriptions and transferring the responsibility to an objective source, such as the Legislative Analyst’s Office, is vital to regaining election integrity and to ensuring a future vote on the proper rate of taxes on gas be conducted fairly.

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About the Institute for Gas Price Reduction

We are scientists, small business owners, policy experts, and citizens from all walks of life. What unites us is our concern over California’s spiraling gas prices. Our ultimate goal is to bring California’s gas prices in line with the national average, although we believe the first step to achieving this objective is to have a fact-based conversation on our state’s fuel policy, putting aside ideology and partisanship.

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