Here’s an excellent letter to the editor by my good friend Paul King on CA’s soaring gasoline prices (I updated and expanded the figures, and added verifying URL’s):
The Los Angeles Times correctly reported that refinery problems were the major cause of the supply problem on the West Coast. CA once had 14 refineries producing the state’s unique blend of gasoline mandated by its legislature, but that number has declined to 12. Among those 12, four are shut temporarily due to maintenance issues. With CA strict bureaucratic refinery regulations, we have not built any new refineries in 40 years.
Because of California’s unique fuel blend requirements, motorists can rely only on California’s refineries to correct their supply problem. They can’t solve the shortage by buying from their next door neighbors in Arizona or Nevada the way other states might.
So now that the state legislature has effectively imposed an embargo on the citizens of California, we are all paying the price of our politicians’ stupidity.
California’s combined federal, state, and local gasoline tax is the 2nd highest in the United States at 68.9 cents per gallon. Only New York state is higher (by less than a penny). The national average INCLUDING CA is 49.3 cents.
In addition, CA has the nation’s 2nd highest diesel tax – 77.1 cents/gallon. The national average is 54.5 cents.
Nonetheless, Californians could soon see those taxes increase. The state’s budget deficit, estimated by Gov. Jerry Brown at $9 billion in January, was off by just a smidge ($7 billion). Now facing a $16 billion deficit, with Prop 30 Jerry Brown is trying to raise the state sales tax (already the highest of the 50 states) from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent.
I propose we take it out of their (the legislators’) pay until they repeal this archaic legislation.
This should be priority #1 for CA.