California’s gas taxes – already among the highest in the nation – go up yet again

Beth Torres

Be prepared to open your wallet as California’s gas tax jumps another 8 percent this month.

Just in time for the summer driving season, California motorists will feel the strain as the state boosts its excise gas tax by about 4 cents per gallon starting July 1.

Californians will need to shell out almost 58-cents in excise gas tax for each gallon of gas purchased. Motorists in the state pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation. Only Illinois, which charges its motorists 67.4-cents-per gallon, surpasses the state in gas taxes.

California’s shockingly high gas taxes are especially noticeable when compared to states like Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma, where the gas taxes range between 19-cents and 20-cents per gallon. Coming in at 9-cents per gallon, Alaska is the state with the lowest gas tax.

Where does all this extra money in California gas taxes go?

In 2010, California drivers paid 18-cents a gallon for the excise gas tax. So, over the past 13 years, the gas tax has increased by 222 percent. That’s a steep increase in taxes, especially at a time when the average resident’s income has not increased by the same amount.

So, what does the gas tax pay for in California? It pays for the state’s freeways, transportation maintenance, bridge repairs, and road improvements. Each year the excise gas tax raises approximately $5.4 billion to cover these costs.

What other gas taxes do Californians pay?

The 58-cents per gallon excise gas tax is just one tax tacked onto each gallon of gas. In California, you’ll also pay state and local sales taxes, 23-cents a gallon for a program to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and 18-cents a gallon for the state’s low carbon fuel program.

This report from CBS 8 San Diego highlights the gas taxes and fees Californians pay, along with recent failed efforts by some politicians to reduce or suspend these taxes.

So, are California’s high taxes just a price to pay for living in paradise?

No doubt, California is a beautiful state. But the beauty is wearing thin on cash-strapped residents who are contemplating moving to other more tax-friendly states. What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

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