California gas prices set to go even higher Friday - here's why

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ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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On July 1, the annual gas tax increase will take effect in California, raising the cost across the state by around 3 cents a gallon.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California gas prices are set to go up on Friday.

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On July 1, the annual gas tax increase will take effect, raising the cost across the state by around 3 cents a gallon.

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"The overall gas tax in California is right now around 51 cents a gallon, and will be around 54 cents a gallon," Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told ABC7 News.

Borenstein said even though it sounds concerning, drivers may not even feel the difference.

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"I don't think most people are going to notice any change in gas prices due to this tax increase at all," he said. "Prices are going up and down so much due to changes in the price of crude oil that the fluctuations are really much larger than the change we'll see on July 1 in the tax."

Still, as inflation rises, Republican Assembly Member Kevin Kiley is among several GOP lawmakers calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to suspend not just the tax increase, but the gas tax altogether. Congressional Republicans sent a letter to the governor on Monday with that plea.

"This is utterly beyond belief," Asm. Kiley told ABC7 News about the gas tax hike. "People are struggling right now. They need relief right now."

Even though experts believe the tax increase is unlikely to have a noticeable impact on consumers, people filling up at a gas station in San Francisco on Tuesday said it's coming at the worst possible time.

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Among them was Jonathan Kaartunen, who said it costs him $180 to fill up his tank.

"I don't make too much. I make like $18 per hour," Kaartunen said. "But the money I do make, if I've got to fill up two times a week because I go back and forth to Daly City, it's just too much."

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"It's just getting ridiculous," he added, "And you think, when is enough, enough?"

Right now there are no plans to suspend the gas tax.

This week, Democratic lawmakers did announce a deal to provide inflation relief to 23 million Californians. If approved, checks ranging from $200 to $1,050 will be sent to taxpayers in October.

"They're coming out with an overall rebate to help low-income families. It's also going to be more targeted at low income than rescinding a gas tax would be," Borenstein said. "Rescinding the gas tax would give money to everyone, including wealthy people who can easily afford it."

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