California's 'Secret' 50-Cent Gas Hike Is Coming to Price You Out of Petrol

The ironically names CARB board says gas prices will rise with 50 cents next year
Written by Jim Belt in News 16 May 2024

A long-time emissions reduction program might lead to a 50-cent increase in gas prices in California over the next two years, according to a low-profile state air quality regulator report.

Key takeaways:

  • California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has reported that gas prices could rise by around 50 cents per gallon in 2025 and continue increasing annually due to emissions reduction programs like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard
  • The projected gas price hikes of up to $1.15 per gallon for gasoline and $1.50 for diesel by 2031-2046 aim to push California towards zero-emissions transportation like electric vehicles
  • Critics argue these "secret" gas tax increases will severely impact middle and low-income Californians who cannot afford rising fuel costs or new electric vehicles

In September, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state's main environmental watchdog, noted that gas prices could rise by about 50 cents a gallon next year and continue climbing annually to support clean air initiatives. This price bump comes on top of the existing gas tax in the state.

Republican state Sen. Janet Nguyen, a fierce critic of tax hikes, told Fox News Digital that this "secret" increase would hit most Californians hard. "The middle class, the low income, they can't afford gas to go to school, work or grocery or the doctor's office," Nguyen said. "No one knows about this. I think people just think it's a tax, so they don't know the difference between the carbon tax versus the state tax. It's almost like a tax on the tax."

The report suggests that due to Low Carbon Fuel Standard reforms from 2007, gasoline prices could jump by 47 cents next year and 52 cents by 2026. Diesel might see a hike of 59 cents this year and 66 cents in two years. Long-term projections are even more daunting, with gasoline potentially surging by $1.15 and diesel by $1.50 per gallon from 2031 to 2046, while jet fuel could rise by $1.21.

Later, the air board staff called these gas price projections "incomplete" in a December report, focusing more on the cost savings for drivers switching to electric vehicles.

The report lands as CARB finalizes new rules pushing for a fast transition from traditional petroleum-powered transportation to zero-emissions options. This change targets passenger cars, heavy-duty trucks, freight trains, and harbor vessels.

California is also phasing out new gas-powered cars, mandating 100% electric vehicle sales by 2035. Nearly 20 other states have adopted these rules, meaning over 40% of the country will be impacted.

The state's broad effort to electrify its transportation sector is part of the California Climate Commitment unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom two years ago. The plan aims to phase out reliance on fossil fuels, deploy green energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2045, and decrease oil demand by a staggering 94%.

"We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in August 2022.

After the report was published, a CARB spokesperson told Fox News Digital: "There is no 'secret' gas tax hike with California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The figure the Senator cited is from an incomplete, preliminary document released last September which is intended to provide a range of financial possibilities looking at how various LCFS credit prices might be passed through to Californians by industry. It is not a prediction of gas prices or a staff proposal. I would also point out that there is no data showing a correlation between LCFS credit prices and fuel prices at the pump."