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Will Governor Newsom’s relief plan help with gas prices in the long run?

People here need long-term solutions.
Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 02:41:21-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Filling your gas tank at the pump is probably costing you more than before. That’s why Governor Gavin Newsom said he is trying to bring some relief with an $11 billion spending package proposal.

The national average for a gallon of gas according to Triple-A is $4.24. In California, the average price of gas is $5.88, and it’s $5.82 here in Bakersfield, both record prices across the state and locally.

To help deal with that, the governor proposed $9 billion in direct payments to Californians.

“$400 for each registered vehicle than an individual owns, up to 2 vehicles. That direct relief will address the issue that we all are struggling to address, and that’s the issue of gas prices, not only here in the state, but across the country.”

That means that car owners in California can get a refund up to $800.

Governor Gavin Newsom adds that an additional $2 billion will go to helping improve infrastructure to reduce people’s reliance on gas.

“We’re building on this direct tax relief by also providing the opportunity for transit agencies to provide almost three months of free public transit, and also accelerating efforts to investments in pedestrian and bicycle safety.”

The initiative would give $750 million for free rides on public transit to state residents for three months.

Up to $600 million would be used to pause a part of the tax rate on diesel for a year, and about $500 million would be help reduce the adjustment for inflation on gas and diesel excise tax rates.

Kevin Slagle with the Western States Petroleum Association said that even though refunds like this are helpful, people here need long-term solutions.

“Sure, Californians appreciate getting some of their tax money back. What it really means is there’s some things the government can do to make sure we don’t have to pay those taxes on an everyday basis.”

Assembly Member Vince Fong calls it a “band-aid” on the affordability crisis crushing Californians.

“My frustration is that if we want to give Californians relief at the gas pump, as fast as possible. We should be temporarily suspending the state’s gas tax immediately.”

Slagle said that about $1.30 of the cost per gallon of gas goes in taxes and regulatory fees, and 51 cents of that is the gas tax in California.

Fong said one issue with the proposal is that it won’t be soon enough to help Californians right now.

“This is just a proposal. The governor has proposed something that hasn’t been put into a bill, it still needs to go through the legislative process, we haven’t seen the specifics.”

Slagle said that another way to help the state could be through ramping up local oil production and helping keep gas prices stable in the future, that can start here at home.

“Kern County plays such a major role in providing energy to our state. We ought not to be tying the hands of the producers there and allow them to produce what they can.”

This time last year, the average cost per gallon was $3.79, it was $4.67 last month, $5.69 last week, $5.80 Tuesday, and $5.82 on Wednesday.