NewsCovering Kern County


California struggles to provide reasonable gas prices

"We need to look for the long term.”
Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 21:24:11-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — According to the State’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration, California has a gas excise tax of 51 cents per gallon which has risen from the previous 47 cents per gallon in June of 2020.

On Monday, a Republican plan to suspend the state's gas tax did not get approved. The proposal would reportedly have saved Californians 50 cents a gallon, which has brought both frustration and concern upon those who are tired of gas price changes and the need for state officials to help.

Kevin Slagle, Director of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petroleum Association said, “What are we doing in the state to make sure we have an affordable and reliable source of energy for all of us?”

It’s a question on the mind of many, including Kevin Slagle. He adds that there has been a lot of discussion for temporary solutions for these rising gas prices. However, he said that there is more work that needs to be done.

“More production, that means more looking at our industry and how we can contribute to an all the above industry strategy. There’s a lot of questions that are being looked at, but we need to look for the long term.”

Slagle said that in total, the first $1.27 that you pay at the pump goes towards state, local, and federal taxes and the remaining goes towards regulatory fees for programs like cap and trade and low carbon fuel standards.

Slagle adds it’s important to note that the total number of dollars paid per gallon may vary a cent or two depending on local sales tax.

“It could be a couple cents higher in some places and a couple cents lower in others. At the local level, you’re going to have local jurisdictions that are responsible for the tax levels. When you look at some of the state programs, that is going to fall with the governor and some of the regulatory bodies.”

The rise in gas prices has also impacted the distribution of 1% local sales and use tax that cities receive across the state.

According to the State’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration, in February of 2022, the City of Bakersfield received $9.9 million which is a substantial increase of roughly $7 million from January of 2022.