California Gas Prices Could Rise Yet Again, Thanks to a Little-Known Proposal

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 14, 2024

Gas prices could rise yet again throughout California, thanks to a little-known proposal that a regulating body in the state is looking to potentially pass.

California has long been considered a state with incredibly high gas prices. Now, according to this latest draft being proposed, gas prices could rise an additional 50 cents.

Gas Prices Could Rise in California

Californians could potentially see gas prices skyrocket yet again thanks to a quietly proposed draft conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

A Mobil gas station seen in the evening in California.

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CARB is a California regulating body that will attempt to implement ambitious climate action policies throughout the state. California has stated that it will meet carbon neutrality by 2045, a rather visionary and challenging task.


Emission Reduction

As CARB is set to try to encourage emission reduction throughout the state, they’ve proposed their Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCSF) report.

The skyline of San Francisco seen in the daytime.

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An amended version of this report was released back in September. However, it has only recently begun to make waves in California for both residents and lawmakers.

A Climate Proposal

In this report, CARB included possible price pass-throughs for consumers as California tries to help its residents during ongoing climate change problems.

A close-up of a green gas pump in a white car.

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California wants to keep its air clean and limit its emissions. To do so, CARB has projected these price increases, and the report has calculated that gas prices could rise by about 47 cents per gallon in just the next year.

Further Gas Increases

That’s not all. According to this amended draft, Californians could expect even more gas price increases after this initial 50-cent increase in one year.

A man putting gas into his car in the daytime.

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Annual increases could become regular for residents throughout the state.

Critics Blast Gas Price Hike Proposal

Already, many critics have blasted CARB’s proposal to further raise the price of gas throughout California, as residents already pay a higher-than-average amount to fill up their car, when compared to the rest of the country.

The official portrait of Senator Janet Nguyen of California.

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California Senator Janet Nguyen, a Huntington Beach Republican, has been a vocal and public critic of this latest move, which she is calling a tax increase.


A “Secret” Tax Increase

Nguyen has claimed that this gas price hike is a further “secret” tax increase that would harm California’s residents.

A close-up of a gas pump in a red car.

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“The astronomical taxes and price of everything from food to gas is driving people out of California. People are putting their rent on credit cards,” Nguyen explained. “So what does the state do? It imposes a secret 47-cent fee in addition to the state’s gas tax so now we’ll be paying over $6 a gallon.”


CARB’s Response

CARB has responded to these allegations of creating a secret gas tax and has denied that the draft was calling for this.

A gas station with people and cars seen in the evening.

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According to CARB, the proposed prices in their report were “intended to provide a range of financial possibilities looking at how various LCFS credit prices might be passed through to Californians by industry.”


Why This Isn’t a Tax

CARB’s Public Information Officer Dave Clegern has stated that this proposed price increase cannot be considered a tax on California residents, as none of this money would be going to the state government.

Many people walking and riding bikes on the streets of Santa Monica, California.

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Instead, the LCFS was created to try to drive down the cost of carbon fuels. To do so, they would reward low-carbon fuel producers and make dirty fuel producers pay for their credits.


A California Gas Tax

Californians are already dealing with a new gas tax hike, which will be in effect on July 1. Therefore, upon hearing claims that gas prices would rise yet again, many have grown frustrated with lawmakers pushing for gas prices to continue to rise.

A gas station seen with cars parked near it in the daytime.

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Thanks to this latest gas price hike, residents will pay about 59.6 cents per gallon.


Fluctuating Gas Prices

On average, Californians have to pay about $5.28 for a gallon of regular gas. The U.S. average throughout the rest of the country’s states is currently $3.61.

A close-up of a gas station pump and options.

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However, some areas of California have much higher prices. For example, a Bay Area gas station hit above $7 recently, making it one of the highest areas to buy gas in the entire state.


CARB’s Next Moves

CARB’s next moves remain to be seen. The body was supposed to hold a hearing on these amendments in March. However, this meeting was postponed.

A close-up of a person putting gas into their white car.

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A new date for this meeting has not yet been made. According to CARB, this postponement occurred as the body “continues to receive substantial feedback on the proposed regulatory package.”