You’re going to start paying more. Gasoline and diesel prices in California will rise as of Wednesday because of a big jump in taxes to pay for transportation projects.
The statewide excise tax on gasoline will jump by 12 cents per gallon to 41.7 cents. For diesel fuel, the excise tax will jump by 20 cents per gallon to 36 cents, and the sales tax will rise to 13 percent from 9 percent (plus local taxes). With diesel around $3 a gallon, the sales tax increase works out to about 12 cents per gallon.
The Legislature approved the bill to raise the tax and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it in April.
“Safe and smooth roads make California a better place to live and strengthen our economy,” Brown said then in a press release. “This legislation will put thousands of people to work.”
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State Republicans are trying to get the tax on the November 2018 ballot to repeal it.
Gasoline prices at the pump will rise within days of the tax increase, but probably not by the full 12 cents.
That’s because Nov. 1 is usually the day when California retailers can start switching from summer to winter gasoline. The winter blend is cheaper to make, and pump prices historically have dropped about 12 cents a gallon around this date, though recently the drop has been closer to 6 cents, said Michael Blasky, a spokesman for AAA Northern California. Prices also drop in the fall because there is less demand after the summer driving season winds down.
The money, expected to total about $5 billion a year, will be split between state and local jurisdictions to pay for transposrtation projects.
Locally, one of the first impacts drivers will see is a $7.2 million project to install new joint seals and replace approach slabs at the South Modesto Overhead Bridge, Tuolumne River Bridge and South Modesto Undercrossing Bridge, according to the state Department of Transportation. The Tuolumne River Bridge deck will be repaired.
A post about the topic on The Modesto Bee’s Facebook yielded comments fast and furious, including this one from Albert Wilson: “We’ll never see that money fixing our roads, just like all the other money we have paid out to keep the roads fixed. They just tax us more and steal the money for themselves and more social programs.”
Johanna Hartwig was more optimistic: “Well ... we pay dimes compared to what the Europeans are paying. If you want good infrastructures, you gotta pay.”
The San Francisco Chronicle contributed to this report.