California’s ‘secret’ 50-cent gas tax hike coming in the next two years The tax increase is ‘a tax on the tax,’ Republican tax hawk says

May 15, 2024

Originally published by Fox News. Written by Jamie Joseph.

A longstanding emissions reduction program may lead to a 50-cent increase in gasoline prices within two years in California, according to a little-known state air quality regulator report.

In September, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state’s primary environmental regulator, reported gas prices will rise next year by about 50 cents a gallon and every year thereafter to aid in clean air efforts. The price increase does not include the existing gas tax in the state.

Republican state Sen. Janet Nguyen, one of the legislature’s most critical tax hawks, told Fox News Digital the “secret” tax increase “would penalize the majority of Californians.”

“The middle class, the low income, they can’t afford gas to go to school, work or grocery or the doctor’s office,” Nguyen said. “No one knows about this. I think people just think it’s a tax, so they don’t know the difference between the carbon tax versus the state tax. It’s almost like a tax on the tax.”

The report foresees gasoline price increases due to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard reforms that were created in 2007, likely rising by 47 cents next year and 52 cents by 2026. Diesel prices could climb by 59 cents this year and 66 cents in two years. Long-term projections suggest gasoline could surge by $1.15 and diesel by $1.50 per gallon from 2031 to 2046, with jet fuel increasing by $1.21.

The air board staff later called the gas price hike projections “incomplete” in a December report, focusing instead on the cost savings to drivers as more people transition to EVs.

A Tesla plugged in and charging at a Supercharger rapid battery charging station in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, Calif., Aug. 24, 2016. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The report comes as CARB finalized new rules last month mandating a rapid transition from traditional petroleum-powered modes of transportation to zero-emissions alternatives as it pursues a sweeping climate agenda. CARB has identified passenger cars, heavy-duty trucking, freight trains and harbor vessels for the changeover.

California is also phasing out new gas-powered cars and mandating 100% electric vehicle sales by 2035. Nearly 20 other states have since adopted those rules, meaning more than 40% of the country will be affected by the mandate to some extent.

In an aerial view, shipping cranes stand at the Port of Oakland in front of the San Francisco skyline Oct. 24, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The state’s broad effort to electrify its transportation sector is part of the California Climate Commitment unveiled by Newsom two years ago. Under the plan, the state is phasing out reliance on fossil fuels, deploying green energy, cutting greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2045 and decreasing oil demand by a staggering 94%.

“We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in August 2022.