Ever-Increasing Gas Tax Unfair to Californians

Myla Zapf, Staff Writer

Every day people all around the country have to spend their hard-earned money on overpriced gas just to get to their jobs or schools and to take care of their families. What about the people who barely make enough money to afford gas? Stopping the gas tax will benefit everyone and will stop the prices of all goods from increasing.

   The gas tax raises the price of gas and will continue to increase as time goes by.  This tax went into effect on November 30, 2017. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, gasoline increased by 12 cents a gallon and will reach 19.5 cents per gallon by 2019. Vehicle registration will also increase from between 25 dollars to 175 dollars. This increase especially hurts students and low-income families. (sandiegouniontribune.com)

   Former Councilman Carl Demaio organized a petition to repeal the tax. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Demaio and his committee are in the process of collecting at least 585,407 signatures from California voters in order to force a repeal initiative on the November 2018 ballot. The main goal of stopping the gas tax is to reverse all the gas and vehicle taxes that were already approved by politicians in Sacramento (sandiegouniontribune.com).

   Californians pay an average of 67 cents more per gallon than the national average, paying some of the highest gas taxes in the country. Where does that money go? Gas taxes are supposed to be spent on repairing and building roads. But recent research from Reform California shows that only 20 percent of the money from gas tax funds are being spent on roads (reformcalifornia.com). According to City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, “Politicians in Sacramento diverted the money that was supposed to be spent on roads, bridges and dams to other things. It’s especially unfair to low-income families and fixed-income seniors, who will be hit the hardest by the tax increase.” People shouldn’t have to spend their money without knowing what is being done with it. A gas tax is expected to cost a typical California family 800 dollars more per year, but that’s just the beginning. An increase in the price of diesel will lead to the increase of prices for anything that is shipped. The cost of transporting goods will increase, so the price of the goods will increase with it. Machinery and equipment like tractors need fuel and are needed to harvest large amounts of food like fruits and vegetables on farms. Since the price to harvest and ship the food will increase, that will lead to the price of food being even higher. Fuel has a bigger impact than people think. The impact of this tax is really hidden and the harsh impacts will only be visible with time (reformcalifornia.com).

   What about all the low-income families and seniors? They are not able to make as much money as others, and more money has to keep coming out of their pockets for fuel. Higher-income families who can afford electric cars don’t contribute to the gas tax so they aren’t contributing to the cost of repairing the roads. Low-income families who can’t afford electric vehicles are stuck paying for the roads that everyone drives on, because they are buying the fuel. If more of their paychecks is spent on gas, then they won’t have enough money to spend on other necessities. This tax will hurt so many people who are already struggling to get by.   

   The gas tax should be repealed to prevent the prices of not only gas, but of all necessities, like food, from increasing. People should be able to know where their hard earned money is going. Most families have a hard enough time getting by as it is, why make things even harder for them?