The formula for tax on gas in California is complicated, but no matter how you look at it, the cost of a gallon of gas is going up. The excise tax is expected to go up Monday. However it will be up to individual retailers how much the tax burden is passed on to consumers. Kathy Vara reports from Burbank for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 28, 2013.
Start saving your spare change.
Gas taxes in California are going to climb nearly 4 cents per gallon next week when a fuel tax hike meant to make up for lost revenue goes into effect.
Come Monday, an extra 3.5 cents will be tacked onto every gallon of gas bought in the Golden State.
Most gas prices in California are above the national average of $3.95 per gallon of self-serve regular gasoline, according to GasBuddy.com.
San Francisco has among the highest gas prices in the state with a gallon costing, on average, $4.077 as of Friday afternoon, according to the price tracking website. That’s nearly 50 cents more than the national average of $3.514 per gallon of regular gasoline, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.
The average driver in California burned 600 gallons of fuel in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, according to data from the California Energy Commission.
By those numbers, the average driver will pay an extra $21 next year under the raised excise tax.
The tax hike – meant to keep California’s sales tax rate at a constant 7.5 percent – will bring the state gasoline excise tax to 39.5 cents per gallon, said Venus Stromberg, spokeswoman for the California Board of Equalization.
The California state excise tax on a gallon of diesel fuel will rise to 13.5 cents, a figure based on data from the American Petroleum Institute.
Nationwide, the average state excise gas tax is about 21 cents, according to API.
Stromberg said that while gas prices are going up, there’s a silver lining. The overall state sales tax remains the same. And tariffs on other purchases – like clothes and computers – have dipped.
Money generated from the fuel excise tax goes toward mass transit projects and public roads in the state.
Dubbed the Fuel Tax Swap, the requirement to keep the sales tax at a constant rate by adjusting excise taxes went into law under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, Stromberg said.