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California’s Pricey Pumps

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Sacramento, CA –Californians may be paying the highest gasoline taxes in the nation when a 3 1/2-cents-per-gallon increase kicks in this summer. The state Board of Equalization (BOE) on Thursday voted to hike the excise tax to 39.5 cents per gallon. The board is required each year to adjust that tax to maintain a certain level of revenue based in part on gas prices and consumption – and consumption’s been falling.

“The legislature mandated that we equalize the sales and excise taxes to avoid a net increase in taxes, ” said Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “We could protest the legislation and not make the rate adjustment; however we would be violating law and arguably exposing taxpayers to even higher taxes in the future.”

The BOE says the excise tax is charged to gasoline suppliers but it’s often passed on to consumers. Coupled with federal and other state taxes, drivers may be paying more than 70 cents in taxes for every gallon in the state. The average price of regular on Friday was more than $4.23 per gallon. In Sonora the average price of gas is $.99 cents. In San Andreas it is $4.09.