SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians pay more for gas at the pump than any other state, and with the Russian conflict and summer months heading our way, there’s no end in sight to the rising costs.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) says Californians pay $1.20 more per gallon compared to the national average.
While Governor Gavin Newsom proposed suspending the gas tax to help with costs, not all Democrats are eager to jump on board.
“If we're gonna halt the gas tax, we just want to make sure that we have a sense of what that means to our state into our economy," Speaker Anthony Rendon said.
Right now, the gas tax in California is at 51.1 cents per gallon, and it’s supposed to go up again in July. Newsom proposed stopping that increase.
"I used to only put $60, but now I put in about $100," Eduardo Hanke, of Palmdale, said.
While prices are going up across the country, why is California still more expensive than the rest? One of several reasons is the gas tax. Voters approved the gas tax in 2017 to help improve infrastructure.
“For the last two weeks, California broke the record for the highest gas prices ever, ever, listen to that, ever recorded," state Senator Patricia Bates said at a press conference Wednesday.
Rendon and Pro Tem Toni Atkins told the Sacramento Press Club last week that they are worried about a potential halt that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The loss of over $500 million to critical projects that impact our whole transportation network is concerning,” she said.
Republicans joined together Wednesday to back a proposal that goes beyond Newsom's. Assembly Bill 1638 would get rid of that 51.1 cent tax per gallon altogether for 6 months.
“We have now upwards what could be a $60 billion surplus in California," Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said. "The government has already taxed us too much. How about we just give a suspension of the gas tax for the next six months? That would save everybody 50 cents a gallon and give them a much-needed break from these high costs.”
Rendon and Atkins said their budget chairs are going to talk about the implications of stopping the next increase, the one Newsom proposed.
Atkins however, said there are other ways to help Californians with increasing costs without touching the gas tax, like healthcare expansion.