California gas tax: Bay Area drivers feel pain at the pump with increase

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Today, California became the state with the highest gas taxes in the country.

That's now nearly 80 cents per gallon after a variable state tax went up another 5.6 cents, effective July 1.

"I think it kind of sucks. It's going to be kind of killer for everybody, but it's worth it," said Wesley Huff, as he filled up his mini-van at a Walnut Creek Shell Station.

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"I have gone from pumping the premium to the regular, just to be able to kind of afford to fill up the tank," said Regina Williams, who had just driven up to the Bay Area from Southern California.

According to AAA, the latest increase means California has jumped ahead of Pennsylvania as the state with the highest gas taxes in the country. Washington, Hawaii and New York round out the top five.

"The good news is we have seen prices falling over the past six weeks in California," said Michael Blasky, a Northern California spokesman for AAA. "You remember the Memorial Day travel season, we were over $4. Right now we're seeing $1, $1.20 more than the national average right now."

RELATED: Gas tax increase goes into effect in California

California's tax is now 79.42 cents per gallon. Nearly 50 cents of that goes to fixed federal and state taxes, an additional 17 cents in variable state tax and the rest to various sales taxes and an underground storage fee.

The latest increase of nearly six cents per gallon is part of a package passed by the state legislature in 2017 to raise $5 billion for road and mass transit improvements.

"In some way, I think that's okay," said Oakland's Alex Camacho, "but I still haven't really noticed a lot of progression in the roads."
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