As of Friday, the price Californians pay at the pump will rise again as the increase in the state’s gas tax goes into effect.
It comes as lawmakers approve a budget that includes rebates going back to California families. The state already has one of the highest gas taxes of 51 cents a gallon. Gas prices and inflation are taking their toll on Californians.
While the national average for gas is less than $5 a gallon. In California, it’s $6.28 per gallon and about to go even higher.
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“That’s crazy, I don’t really see the reason for that, you know?” said San Jose resident Kenneth Roach.
With the gas tax increase now in effect, it’s an extra 3 cents per gallon. For example, if a driver has a 15-gallon gas tank, it will now cost them an extra 45 cents every fill up.
“I commute two hours total every day, so I feel all of the increases,” said Berkeley resident Hailey Guinn.
The state uses the gas tax to fund different highway and road projects. Proponents argued keeping the increase, so, those projects can continue.
Some economists said the increase comes at a bad time.
“So, the problem isn’t that the gas tax is itself an overwhelming indignity, it’s that it comes on top of a whole series of indignities. There are a whole bunch of problems with the economy,” said Robert Chapman Wood, SJSU Global Economics Professor.
This all comes as Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state budget Thursday, which includes the middle-class tax refund to help with the shock of inflation.
Millions of taxpayers will receive payments of $350, $250 and $200 depending on how much money Californians make. And it could be up to $1,050 if California residents have children.
Drivers NBC Bay Area spoke to on Thursday were mixed on it.
“I would prefer to have the gas tax lower and then skip the rebate,” Guinn said.
“Not only because of Ukraine and gas prices, but I feel like gas prices also went up because of the stimulus checks we were getting. For me, I’m happy we got the money and everything, but that really did raise up the prices for a lot of things,” Roach said.
So, when will residents get that money? Don’t expect it over the summer, the state tax board said payments will start in late October and go through January.