CA Lawmakers Have Yet to Provide Relief from High Gas Prices

(Courtesy of California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office.)

by Robert J. Hansen

Sqacramento, CA – Currently, gas prices in some parts of California exceed $6 per gallon and State legislators still have yet to finalize a response providing relief to Californians.

Governor Gavin Newsom first proposed a gas tax rebate to help Californians with the costs of gas at last month’s State of the State address but that has yet to be seen.

Sacramento Assemblymember Kevin McCarty released a statement Thursday evening informing Sacramento residents and Californians they will soon get significant tax relief to help counter soaring inflation and gas prices.

“I would like to address a major issue that we are facing in the state, rising gas prices,” McCarty said. “As a leader on budget issues, I am committed to helping finalize this smart and fair plan in the coming weeks.”

He said an aide package is being finalized but gave no details as to when.

“Currently we are finalizing our legislative package to maximize aid for taxpayers,” McCarty said. “There have been various rebate proposals, and I am taking them all into consideration while working with legislative leadership.”

Last week, a bill that would have suspended some gas taxes, was completely overhauled by Democrats to instead tax the gasoline companies if prices are abnormally high relative to the price of crude oil.

Democrat Assemblymember Alex Lee told ABC 10, that the root of the problem is corporate greed.

“The lie that Big Oil is perpetuating is that they don’t dictate their prices—even as they continue to charge the mystery surcharge of 30+ cents per gallon since 2015 and take advantage of global crises to maximize profits when the price of crude oil continues to drop,” Lee said. “The Vehicle Fuel Windfall Rebate Fund on fossil fuel corporations would permanently curb their profiteering and return money to Californians when their profit margins exceed $0.30 per gallon.”

Authored by Republican Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, AB 1638 is being upheld by Republican Assemblymember James Gallagher in the Transportation Committee, withholding unanimous consent on the adoption of committee amendments.

“Only Assembly Democrats would think you can bring down gas prices by increasing the gas tax,” Gallagher said. “Today’s stunt in the Transportation Committee shows just how far Democrats will go to delay and avoid giving Californians any relief from high gas prices. Californians are hurting now, and Democrats’ charade will only extend the pain.”

California GOP Chair, Jessica Milan Patterson, said Californians have been hurting in the 29 days since Newsom and Democrats promised gas tax relief.

“They still can’t even decide which of their many, many ideas they want to move forward with to make that happen,” Patterson said. “Californians don’t have time to wait.”


About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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21 thoughts on “CA Lawmakers Have Yet to Provide Relief from High Gas Prices”

  1. Chris Griffith

    Well the most obvious thing to do is to eliminate the state and federal tax levied against gasoline, and reinstate it against tires instead, with appropriate scaling and adjustment so that road upkeep can continue to be funded and EV’s would be taxed at a equal rate.

  2. Ron Glick

    The problem we have is that both parties have no idea what they are doing when it comes to energy policy.

    The democrats think high gas taxes will drive people to alternatives. The problem is if energy prices go too high it can send the economy into recession, the anti-oil democrats could lose the majority and any hope of realizing their agenda. I wonder how bad this will get later this spring when California shifts to its summer gasoline blend if prices go up even more.

    The Democrats got the voters to support these high taxes in California the last time the Republicans tried to make hay out of gasoline taxes so they are not willing to cut taxes that were supported at the polls. Of course that was when oil prices were in a seven year slump that got so bad that oil companies like Chevron had to borrow money to maintain their shareholder dividend.

    The Republicans think if you lower gas taxes prices will come down and the roads will magically take care of themselves. Since price is the balance point between supply and demand lowering taxes will incentivize consumption and cause prices to go up to a new equilibrium point reducing the effectiveness of the tax cut but transferring some amount of tax money to the oil companies. Before gas taxes were raised when Jerry Brown was Governor the roads got so bad they were considered the worst in the nation. But the Republicans think they can win elections on the issue of high gas taxes. The problem for the Democrats is the Republicans could be right if there is too much pain at the pump.

    The Greens have scared the crap out of the oil industry by blocking pipelines, attempting to ban fracking and opposing drilling in general. The oil industry is looking at a future where they can no longer produce gasoline. Since the theoretical price of a company stock is the net present value of all future earnings the oil companies have decided to return more excess capital to shareholders through buybacks and dividends instead of reinvesting in production.

    Now that geopolitical considerations have changed expecting the oil companies to change while the domestic politics on global warming remain may be falling on deaf ears. We will see. Oil production will likely ramp up because of profit margins but at a slower rate than they otherwise would in an industry with less political uncertainty.

    In my opinion the best way to proceed would be to let the oil market operate freely but incentivize alternatives through rebates and subsidies. This would allow supply and demand to equilibrate while reducing demand over time. The problem with trying to solve global warming on the supply side is that the economic pain can be too great for the voters to handle.

    1. Ron Oertel

      The problem is if energy prices go too high it can send the economy into recession,

      The rebates (or other relief) actually have nothing to do with the price of oil/gas.  Those are set in the global market.

      Rebates (or other relief, including any suspension of the gas tax – which has to be “made up for” elsewhere) ultimately come from taxpayers, themselves.

  3. Chris Griffith

    The problem with trying to solve global warming on the supply side is that the economic pain can be too great for the voters to handle.

    I agree

  4. Ron Oertel

    As a politician, you can’t keep bringing up climate change while simultaneously attempting to subsidize the cost of gas.

    At least, not without looking like a total hypocrite (or outright fool).

    Did you see Newsom’s proposal, where he wants to subsidize each car owner in the form of a $400 rebate for each car they own (up to 2 cars for each person)?  Does this guy have zero clue regarding the environment, how that looks, or what?

    If you want to help those who need it with higher prices in general, why not just send rebates to those with lower incomes?

  5. Chris Griffith

    Before Biden was sworn in, we were actually energy independent for the first time in decades and we were actually exporting energy, which put downward pressure on the price of oil. It took Biden less than a year to reverse that and he then had to tap the strategic oil reserves.


    1. Ron Oertel

      Is that right?  How did that occur?

      Biden is in the same situation as Newsom – claiming to be concerned about climate change and the environment, while subsidizing the cost of gas. (Though Biden’s actions so far are not actually subsidizing it, compared to Newsom’s proposal.)

      In any case, these guys have to “pick a lane” to have any credibility. (And, not a “traffic” lane, I would think.)

  6. Chris Griffith

    How did that occur?


    Well that happened because the current administration was trying to push electric vehicles. I think their thought was that they could drive up the price of gas push and electric cars simultaneously and would be politically expedient for the current administration but instead they got a dead chicken hung around their neck. Mr newsom is just collateral damage in this train wreck 🙃



    1. Ron Oertel

      dead chicken hung around their neck.

      I do look forward to your comments (regardless of point of view).  🙂

      But that’s just my humble opinion.

    1. Ron Oertel


      As a team – I raise gas to $10 per gallon, and you ban electric cars (aka, “dead chickens”).  🙂

      We’ll have it under control in no time.

  7. Alan Miller

    The Repubs have it right.  Lower taxes, lower prices as per use.  Thus, those who use their cars alot, such as lower-income persons who need a car to get to work, get a larger relief.

    $400 per car is a bandage.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Just happened across this article, couldn’t resist posting a link to it:

      There is “strong evidence” of systemic racial and ethnic bias in air pollution control across California, according to a new study from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS).

      Researchers assessed air pollution data from before the coronavirus pandemic began and as California’s first stay-at-home order was in place. They found predominantly Asian and Hispanic communities saw a bigger drop in air pollution exposure during the shutdown than predominantly white areas, which researchers said means the state’s Asian and Hispanic areas “experience significantly more air pollution from economic activity compared to predominantly white neighborhoods.”

      ‘Strong Evidence’ of Systemic Bias in California Pollution Exposure: Study (

      So in that same light, are attempts to lower or subsidize gas prices (and thereby increase driving) “systemically racist”? (I can’t believe I’m asking this.)

      1. Chris Griffith

        So in that same light, are attempts to lower or subsidize gas prices (and thereby increase driving) “systemically racist”? (I can’t believe I’m asking this

        I think that is a very legitimate question to ask.

        I’m beginning to think liberals like pollution because it causes enough brain damage to make one vote Democrat  expanding their voter base.
        I know this claim will anger a lot of liberals  but it’s the best explanation I can find for their weird irrational behavior and conspiracy nuttiness.

  8. Chris Griffith

    I believe electric cars are a better future, however, there are still many obstacles to overcome before they become mainstream. High upfront cost, astronomical battery replacement and repair charges, lack of fast charging stations, too many unneeded electronics, and being tied to a mother ship just to name a few. We need an electric car with the basics. Trying to make these things drive themselves is just stupid. Big ass hard to navigate giant screens instead of simple buttons on the dash? Watch movies on that same screen?? Tied to the Internet? Ugh, I just want to run down to the local store for a loaf of bread. I don’t want a car company knowing when I do that. I’m not going to watch Netflix while putting AI in charge of getting me there ..ever. I believe it will be a while before ICE autos go out of fashion. I also want one that will pull my fifth wheel trailer down the road four or five miles before I got to put it on a charger.

  9. Dave Hart

    If the true and full costs of burning a gallon of gasoline were tied to the price, we would be paying $10.00 or $20.00 per gallon.  Those costs include, among many others, our slow sleepwalk toward climate breakdown.  Why subsidize fossil fuels even more?  Asking the state to give us a break on gasoline prices is like commissioning the CHP to handout whiskey shots at every freeway on-ramp.

  10. Alan Miller

    To be clear, I’m not in favor of subsidizing gas prices.  What I’m saying is those hurt most are those with low income, and in addition those who need to drive to reach their job, and in addition those that need to drive a long distance to reach their job.

    $400/car will be a waste as it targets none of the above three parameters and thus will waste huge $’s on persons who don’t need it or it won’t make a difference.  Per gallons hits the last parameter and thus targets those who drive a lot.  This could encourage driving, but in an inflationary spiral both helping those hardest hit and discouraging driving are at odds.

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