After a recent vote by the state Board of Equalization, the total tax that Californians will pay on gasoline will become 70.6 cents. This will make California the state with the highest gas tax in the nation. This tax was “necessitated” from a $157 million shortfall in gas tax-revenue in 2012. While raising the gas tax by 3.5 cents in July may seem vital to California as a cash-strapped state, objective observers notice how the loss in revenue is self-inflicted and will only get worse. The $157 million gas-tax revenue loss is due to a few different factors that are all connected to the state’s liberal initiatives.
California has long been the leader in green energy initiatives, and it is finally reaping the benefits from its liberal leanings. The high mpg standard that president Obama and the EPA is simply a more intense, nationwide version of California’s AB 1493. The mpg standard for new vehicles in 2025 is 54.5, and in 2012 Californians bought 24.7 percent of all hybrids sold in the US, and 32 percent of all electric cars sold (while buying 11.1 percent of all cars sold). So Californians are embracing greener car technology, like their liberal electives have desired for years. However, a concept apparently unaware to California politicians is the idea of lower tax revenue if less gas is consumed. Californians are using less gas than ever, partly due to the bad economy, but more than anything due to Californians buying cars that have a higher mpg rate. While I don’t care what people buy to drive (if they want to buy a more expensive car that has a higher mpg rate, they can go right ahead), but I do have a problem with a government that punishes its citizens for going green like they said they should. The average price for gasoline is around $4.22, already extremely high, especially when you consider the median is about $3.55. Proponents says that the high taxes are necessary for maintaining California’s dwindling infrastructure, however California spends millions from its gas tax revenue on maintaining its growing deficit. So to think that this time around, these new tax increased will be used only on better roads is naive. Greener cars cost more than non-green cars, but advocates say that the amount of gasoline saved will offset the higher cost of the vehicle (though this point is highly debated). With California raising the taxes on gas, the amount of money saved by buying a more expensive green car shrinks. So theoretically, the more people drive green cars (to save money on gas), the more California will raise the taxes on gas, eliminating the money saved by those who bought green cars.
Another cause of California raising its tax on gasoline is the higher level of people using public transportation. With more people using public transportation (a program loved by liberals everywhere as another way to take care of people), less people are paying for gas, and lower gas tax revenue results. The best part of this is that public transportation is funded almost 50 percent from gas taxation. So as people use public transportation more, California will receive less revenue from gas taxation, and will have to raise the tax rate of gasoline, and fewer people will drive and the cycle will never end. Currently California spends over $3 billion on public transportation every year, and that number will only continue to rise. A way to come up with some of the $3 billion would be to make public transportation at least somewhat self sufficient. But that would require people paying for services they use, and Democratic voters won’t like that (the election of Jerry Brown and Barack Obama proved this).
Politicians often lament how they have little to no control over gasoline prices, which to a certain extent, they don’t. However, it is hard to listen to liberals whine about how they don’t have power over oil prices, when they constantly raise taxes on them. By raising taxes on gasoline by 3.5 cents, they increase the price of gasoline by 3.5 cents, directly affecting the price of gas. This new squeezing of Californians for more money will not solve California’s massive budgetary woes, and it will not solve their infrastructure problem (as the new funds will undoubtedly be siphoned off by other entitlement programs).