Californians are Drowning in Gas Taxes

By Fired Up Fred

Gas prices are the highest in history. In California, they are even higher than the rest of the country due to all the taxes tacked on.

According to the Sacramento Bee’s article last week, drivers pay 86.55 cents per gallon in state and federal taxes and fees in California. Next highest is Illinois at 78 cents, but the national average is 57.09 cents. The American Petroleum Institute published a document this past January showing just how much Californians pay in gas taxes compared to the rest of the states.

Governor Gavin Newsom needs to do away with all the gas taxes to give us some relief. With inflation the highest it’s been in 40 years, Newsom is sitting on massive reserves. The Los Angeles Times reports California has $38 billion in extra cash between now and the summer. 

Newsom and his cronies don’t want to touch the gas tax because then we would know what our gas should really cost. The gas tax that we have been paying for years and years was to go for our roads, but our roads are not any better. They should be paved with gold, with all the tax money that we have spent on them.

Legislators are now discussing giving everyone a $400 rebate. We will then have to claim that as income on our taxes? I don’t want your stinking rebate, I want the gas taxes to be taken off. Have some guts Newsom.

I say no gas taxes and use the $400 rebate for the roads, or keep it in your coffers with the massive reserves.

The California people are drowning in high inflation and high gas prices. For God’s sake, Newsome throw us a lifesaver, or should I say a gas saver?

Fired Up Fred is a local curmudgeon living in Santa Barbara who has a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Their opinions are entirely their own and do not represent or reflect those of Do you have a topic you’d like Fred to rant about? Send an email to


Written by Fired Up Fred

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  1. Yes, if and when the public transportation networks are fixed and/or better and cheaper EV options are available. Raising the gas tax amounts to, in many cases, a poor tax, as the poor often must travel outside their neighborhoods to find viable work as well as shopping options (heard of food deserts?) We can’t keep hurting the lower/middle class to try and solve problems the upper classes have created.

  2. change your habits. buy/use hybrid tech. it’s not new tech and in fact you can pick up a used hybrid for under 5k. i recently rented a car and got a new hyundai hybrid….i drove that car from SB, to Ojai sespe, lockwood valley to new cuyama, to SLO, to Morro Bay, and then back, then up the pass to red rocks and back to ojai. i drove it over a week with the kids and dog. i spent $35 in fuel for the entire thing…
    Tesla has very affordable entry level cars now in the $15k range for new…
    time…well…way PAST due to change our habits. you can complain about the price of fossil fuel or you can change your own habits.

  3. CA Legislators have been stealing the gas taxes and state vehicle registration fees that are supposed to go to ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE and funneling it to social welfare programs, that are completely un-audited, for those here illegally. Whether for taxpayer supported subsidies like Statewide Housing Authorities (Read, SB Housing Authority) to Food Debit card costs and medical /educational costs… ALL TO SUBSIDIZE underpaid workers, from the California Ag Industry to Hotel and Restaurants throughout the State. It’s our dirty little secret that NO ONE admits to or wants to discuss-

  4. CA is an amazing BECAUSE of the taxes we pay. I have lived in other states and family that became “anti-California” moved to Texas and Arizona. They are now whining about infrastructure, homes freezing, power going out constantly, issues that make our DMV look like the most efficient running ship on the planet, and health care access that is abysmal. This is one of the cleanest, most beautiful states. You can have a ton more home and land for your money elsewhere because…fewer people want to be there AND there are far fewer jobs on average. We all make our life balance choices and they are choices. The amount we are paying for gas isn’t near what the real environmental impact is nor what people around the world have been paying for ages. The lack of perspective is mindboggling.

  5. That’s how I feel too. And yes, I am secure. I do my best to make the people in my small circle feel that way too, including my hired helpers. Because I can. And should. The political stance of where I live means a lot to me. That’s why I set up my life so that I can take that into consideration.

  6. Glad to see you back Fred, I’ve missed your entertaining musings. I agree in that Californians have the biggest income disparity in the US and we are taxed the most. It doesn’t make sense to me and I’m surprised that low income and even middle class families are able to stay here. I’ve read that CA Dems do support the tax suspension but are worried oil companies will not pass the tax down to consumers.

  7. This morning’s LA Times had a story about the bombing of an Aramco refinery by rebels. Buried in the article is this: “The attacks on Sunday came as Saudi Arabia’s state-backed Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, announced its profits surged 124% in 2021 to $110 billion, a jump fueled by renewed anxieties about global supply shortages and soaring oil prices.” Maybe if we stopped going after taxes as a dodge against government we could go after obscene profits that these cartels are making. In California it is document that there is, for example, a 30-40 cent per gallon cost that is unexplained. The state has been trying to get to these companies for years but they can obfuscate and move stuff around. Consider also that the in state refineries and oil companies are huge beneficiaries of Prop 13 which gives them remarkably low property tax rates as they never actually sell real estate. So, minimally, maybe there should be an excess profits tax to take back what these companies are gaining by their manipulations.

  8. Considering how much we’re all being ripped off by oil companies, complaining about paying a bit more in tax than the rest of the country is pretty silly. To add insult to injury, lobbyists like the American Petroleum Institute quoted above make sure taxpayers subsidize oil companies to the tune of billions per year. CA pays high gas taxes because we have the most miles of highway in the country after Texas, which as we all know gets what they pay for when it comes to infrastructure. If you look at the breakdown of where the money goes, the use of the tax revenue is highly efficient and doesn’t even pay for all necessary highway and road maintenance. In the long run, it is much more cost-effective to pay a tax upfront for these expenses instead of the state taking out bonds and borrowing money.

  9. Raise the gas tax and other taxes. Global warming dictates a reduction the burning of hydrocarbons. If taxes discourage people driving then we all benefit and taxes create jobs. The $400 that the government is considering is a is a rebate for increases caused by Putin’s war and has nothing to do with taxes.

  10. KARMASB, I’ve seen Tesla products advertised for as little as $4000 but if buy the complete set of FOUR wheels it works out to $16000. And then of course you have to add on the cost of the rest of the car.
    Electric cars are elegant tech and I love them but they solve nothing for people not pulling down a six figure salary unless they are willing to ensnare themselves in “ez credit” schemes. Wait ten years and ask me again and I will probably give you a different answer.

  11. hey JAK, maybe the dealer pitched it to my client that way. Hey it starts at $16k, but then you need wheels, that’s another $1500 per wheel, then you need at least two working doors, that’s another $5k per door 😉
    either way, my point is valid. we can pick apart numbers, or we can change our habits. that’s the focus point here. changing our habits. we can rely on fossil fuel forever and buy what they push on us, or we can look harder, farther, and more direct and find something that is more suitable.

  12. And still people take out huge loans to buy huge, expensive SUVs and mega trucks in the “Mine is bigger than yours is” race where a set of tires cost a month’s rent and mpg numbers start with the number one.

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