“Secret” increase could raise gas prices by 50 cents

California’s climate goals could lead to gas prices increases due to a pass through of costs from oil companies to consumers.

Gas prices in the Golden State could increase by nearly another 50 cents per gallon to align with California’s ambitious climate goals. 

The proposal is being called a “secret” tax by one Republican state Senator. 


The big picture: Last September the California Air Resources Board (CARB) noted in a report that gas prices will rise next year by around 50 cents per gallon and every year thereafter to assist clean air efforts. 

  • That does not include the existing gas tax, which is set to rise to nearly 60 cents per gallon in July. 
  • Price hikes would come due to Low Carbon Fuel Standard reforms, projected to increase gas prices by 47 cents per gallon next year and 52 cents by 2026, while diesel prices could be up 66 cents within two years. 

Driving the news: The report stems from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to have California achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. 

  • CARB was scheduled to hold a hearing on the possible price hikes in March but postponed it to an undetermined date, putting the increase in jeopardy. 

Go deeper: Gas prices would rise because the state would expect oil companies to pass the costs through to consumers. 

  • That would come through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which works to reduce petroleum dependency and improve air quality. 

What they’re saying: State Sen. Janet Nguyen (R–Huntington Beach) told Fox news that the possible increases would effectively be a “secret” tax that would “penalize the majority of Californians.” 

  • “The middle class, the low income, they can’t afford gas to go to school, work or grocery or the doctor’s office,” Nguyen said. “No one knows about this. I think people just think it’s a tax, so they don’t know the difference between the carbon tax versus the state tax. It’s almost like a tax on the tax.”
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