ANOTHER 50 CENTS PER GALLON: Gas Prices In California to Rise Again

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A recent report from California’s little-known state air quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), suggests that a longstanding emissions reduction program could result in a 50-cent increase in gasoline prices within two years in the state.

According to the report, gas prices are expected to rise by approximately 50 cents a gallon next year and continue to increase annually thereafter to support clean air initiatives. This price hike does not include the state’s existing gas tax.

Republican state Sen. Janet Nguyen, known for her fiscal conservatism, criticized the proposed increase, referring to it as a “secret” tax that would disproportionately impact most Californians. She expressed concern that the middle and lower-income populations would struggle to afford gas for essential needs like commuting to school, work, or medical appointments.

The report attributes the projected gasoline price increases to reforms associated with the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which was established in 2007. It predicts a rise of 47 cents per gallon next year and 52 cents by 2026, with diesel prices potentially increasing by 59 cents this year and 66 cents in two years. Long-term projections indicate that gasoline prices could surge by $1.15 and diesel by $1.50 per gallon from 2031 to 2046, with jet fuel also seeing a substantial increase.

In December, the air board staff cautioned that these projections were “incomplete,” focusing instead on the cost savings for drivers as more people transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

CARB recently finalized new rules mandating a rapid transition from traditional petroleum-powered transportation to zero-emissions alternatives. This move aligns with the state’s ambitious climate agenda, which includes phasing out new gas-powered cars and requiring 100% electric vehicle sales by 2035. Nearly 20 other states have adopted similar rules, collectively affecting over 40% of the country.

California’s efforts to electrify its transportation sector are part of the broader California Climate Commitment, announced by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020. The state aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2045 and decrease oil demand by 94% as part of this initiative. Governor Newsom has emphasized the importance of taking significant and decisive actions to combat the climate crisis.



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