Gas tax increase to pay for road repairs and maintenance statewide

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The State of California raised the tax on gasoline by 12 cents a gallon, starting November first. (KFSN)

Drivers like Pam Silva of Fresno were a little surprised by the sudden increase in gas prices.

"I just noticed from yesterday to today," said Silva.

The state of California raised the tax on gasoline by 12 cents a gallon, starting November first, bringing the average cost of regular to 3.05 per gallon in Fresno. Although prices today ranged from $2.69 to $3.59 per gallon.

Petroleum dealer Scott Cain says the 12-cent boost is not likely to put much of a dent in driving.

"And they are able to do it because the demand for gasoline is pretty darned inelastic. We still have to drive to work. So we are kind of hemmed in by this thing," said Cain.

The tax increase means out of every gallon of gas, the state of California now gets more than 58 cents in sales and exise taxes. The Federal government gets more than 18 cents. So the total tax bite is almost 78 cents a gallon.

That's about a quarter of the cost of an average gallon. Most of the extra money is designated for road and transportation improvements. But Republican legislators who opposed the measure are still complaining.

"We do not need to be increasing folks' taxes when we already build roads inefficiently and when the money's already there. We just need to appropriate the money in the right way," said Ted Gaines.

Critics say the real bite is the hike in diesel fuel costs. Up 20 cents a gallon, plus a four percent increase in the diesel fuel sales tax.

"But the diesel end of it is a lot more significant, between 30 and 40 cents a gallon, and that's going to hit everybody's bottom line from the goods we buy. The Amazon deliveries, everything like that, is going to get more expensive," said Cain.

Supporters of the gas tax increase note those taxes to fund road and transportation improvements haven't been raised in three decades and the work is long overdue.

Related Topics:
politicsgas pricestransportationCalifornia
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