Democrats have had plenary power in California politics for the better part of two decades, and they’ve done little to help the poor and the middle class. Gov. Gavin Newsom has done nothing to improve things.
What’s driving prices to multiyear highs? According to Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, it’s a supply crunch resulting from refinery upsets in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“California’s unique gasoline standard means replacements for the shortfall in production aren’t easily found and … explains why drivers there have seen gasoline prices spike nearly 68 cents a gallon in just a month,” McTeague told FOX Business.
No other state uses California’s unique gas blend, and only refineries within the state make it. So, when a California refinery has mechanical troubles or has to switch from the summer to the fall blend, out-of-state refineries can’t step in to help with supply.
Those hit hardest by these higher gas prices? Not the wealthy in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. Another dollar a gallon isn’t something that they really notice, especially those who can afford those over-priced Teslas.
About those gas taxes
And then there’s California’s gas taxes, the second-highest in the nation. The tax on unleaded gas jumped 12 cents per gallon in 2017, and another 5.6 cents per gallon earlier this summer. The gas tax hikes were sold to voters as being dedicated to improving the crumbling road infrastructure throughout the state.
Gas tax hike supporters said the hikes were necessary because improvements in fuel efficiency and the proliferation of electric-only automobiles meant that the existing gas tax was not generating enough income to take care of the roads. Opponents of the hike charged that the existing gas taxes had been raided for other liberal funding priorities and that these new, additional taxes would likely suffer the same fate.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is directing some money collected through gasoline taxes away from road repairs in favor of rail projects, according to a 200-page proposal from the state’s transportation department.
Under an executive order Newsom signed last month, Caltrans must “reduce congestion through innovative strategies designed to encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.”
The plan Caltrans released last week includes money generated through Senate Bill 1 — a 2017 state law allowing California to raise gas taxes for 10 years in order to fund transportation projects.
The road projects on the chopping block to pay for Newsom’s mass transit plans include a plan to widen Highway 99, an important north-south corridor through the Central Valley, and the widening/changes to Highway 46 in northeastern San Luis Obispo County.
The Highway 46 project is especially important because the stretch of highway that needs upgrading is notorious for traffic deaths, and has been for decades. The state’s failure to improve that stretch of highway is almost criminal.
It should come as no surprise that a state so dominated by liberal elites along the coastal corridor would choose to ignore the needs of the relatively poor in the Central Valley and those outside the major metropolitan areas.
The war on the poor and the middle class will continue until the state can get rid of them both.