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Buckle up: California’s gas tax is on the rise

California’s gas tax is scheduled to break the 50 cent mark in a couple weeks. 

On July 1, the gas tax will increase by 3.2 cents to total 50.5 cents per gallon. 

Given the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, a group of California Republican lawmakers are calling for the state to freeze the tax and prevent the increase. 

“Unemployment continues to rise, and all the ways California was unaffordable prior to the pandemic still exist – suspending the gas tax increase is the least that could be done,” Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) told the Los Angeles Times. 

The increase is the third in four years and is due to the automatic inflation-adjustment that was added in the 2017 law. 

Meanwhile, Bakersfield Asm. Vince Fong added that the increase: “further rubs Sacramento salt into the wounds of California residents who are struggling with uncertainty and real financial pain” during the coronavirus crisis.”

Because the California Consumer Price Index increased by about 6 percent, the gas tax follows suit with its own 6 percent increase. 

In 2017, the gas tax increased by 12 cents per gallon and in 2019 it increased by 5.6 cents per gallon. 

The state estimates that the tax increase will generate an additional $440 million over the next fiscal year. 

In total, the state expects the 50.5 cent per gallon tax to generate $7 billion to go toward road and bridge repairs. 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.