Californians Struggle with Soaring Costs as New Taxes Threaten to Spike Gas Prices by 47 Cents – And It’s Just the Beginning

Gavin Newsom

California’s gas prices, already among the highest in the nation, are poised to climb nearly 50 cents per gallon due to a lesser-known initiative designed to fulfill the state’s stringent emissions reduction targets.

The governing entity, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), is tasked with executing the most rigorous climate policies globally, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2045.

Already Facing High Gas Prices

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Californians are no strangers to steep gas prices, consistently among the highest in the country. As of Monday, according to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $5.28, significantly higher than the national average of $3.61.

Newsom Blames Oil Industry

Gavin Newsom
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The disparity between California’s retail gasoline prices, known for being exorbitant, and those of the rest of the nation had widened. While the oil industry attributes this to higher taxes and regulations in the state, Newsom contends that companies are exploiting global shortages for profit.

After a six-month, highly publicized standoff with the oil industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom accused oil companies of gouging Californians during last year’s record gas price surge and pushed for legislation to reclaim excessive profits for taxpayers. On March 23rd, 2023 he celebrated the signing of a pioneering law that may cap oil refiner earnings.

“We proved we can actually beat Big Oil,” Newsom said.

California’s Refinery Count Plummets from 43 to 14

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At a recent Senate energy committee hearing, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president and CEO of the Western States Petroleum Association, argued against caps and penalties on oil profits, claiming they would not lower prices but would instead have the opposite effect.

She explained that to avoid penalties, companies might limit supply, pushing prices even higher. “Running a refinery in California is two to three times more expensive than anywhere else in the world, reaching a point where it’s no longer economically viable,” Reheis-Boyd stated.

In 2023, California’s number of refineries had dropped to 14 from 43 in 1982. She suggested that lawmakers should focus on enhancing the oil supply chain by easing restrictions on crude oil production within the state.

Gas Tax Hike July 1, 2024

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While Californians await the CARB increase, they will already face increased gas prices starting July 1 when the built-in excise gas tax will now be 59.6c/gallon to account for inflation.

Already Paying For Expensive Summer Blend

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The average gas price in the state has risen 55 cents from last year as the pricier summer blend takes effect. Gas stations across California have begun selling the pricier summer fuel blend, designed to cut down on ozone emissions, with Southern California making the switch on February 1 and Northern California following on March 1, as reported by the energy commission.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Report Forecasts Hikes Next Year

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In an updated version of CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a recent report revealed potential cost implications for consumers as the state advances its clean air objectives.

This report forecasts that, starting next year, gasoline prices could rise by an average of 47 cents per gallon, with expected similar annual increments following.

As per the report, “On average, from 2031 through 2046 the proposed amendments are projected to potentially increase the price of gasoline by $1.15 per gallon.”

Republican State Senators Criticize Tax Increases

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State Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach), a staunch opponent of tax increases, has slammed the proposed hike as a “secret” tax that would severely strain Californians financially. “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 told KTVU, adding. “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 Claims Price Increases Are Not a Tax

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In response to claims of a “secret” gas tax, CARB told KTVU that the figures cited in the preliminary report were “intended to provide a range of financial possibilities looking at how various Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) credit prices might be passed through to Californians by industry.”

Dave Clegern, a CARB Public Information Officer, clarified, “The LCFS helps drive down the cost of low carbon fuels in California by rewarding low carbon fuel producers with credits that are paid for by dirty fuel producers.  This is not a tax.”

In a December report, the air board staff described the earlier gas price hike projections as “incomplete,” choosing instead to highlight the potential cost savings for drivers as the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) gains momentum.

100% Push Towards Electric Vehicles In a Decade

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Last August, the California Air Resources Board set a groundbreaking mandate that requires 35% of new cars sold in the state by 2026 to be zero-emission vehicles, nearly doubling current figures, with targets increasing to 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

Biden Adopting California Model

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California, a major influencer in the U.S. auto market where one in every ten cars is sold, has seen at least 17 other states commit to adopting its regulations.

This move places substantial pressure on automakers, especially as the Biden administration recently proposed similar stringent national measures to boost electric vehicle production.

Costly and Challenging Transition to Electric Vehicles

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Transitioning from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) presents significant financial and logistical challenges. The initial cost of purchasing an EV can be substantially higher compared to traditional vehicles, putting a strain on many household budgets.

Additionally, the development of EV charging infrastructure remains uneven, with multi-unit dwellings often lacking the necessary installations. This scarcity of accessible charging stations creates a significant barrier for apartment dwellers and those without private garages, complicating the shift towards a more sustainable mode of transportation and making it less practical for a significant portion of the population.

Biden Quadruples Tariffs On Chinese EVs

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Chinese firms can sell EVs for as little as $12,000.

Joe Biden today announced anti-China tariffs under the guise of protecting American workers expanding on the tariffs first instituted by Trump in 2018.

The tariffs announced on EVs increases from 25% to 100%. EV battery tariffs jumped 33% from 7.5% to 25% while solar cells doubled from 25% to 50%.

Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign’s press secretary, called the new tariffs a “weak and futile attempt” to distract from Biden’s own support for EVs in the United States, which Trump says will lead to layoffs at auto factories.

Concerned about a potential influx of affordable Chinese cars manufactured in Mexico, former President Trump and his team are strategizing to enforce significant tariffs on automobiles from Mexico unless it ceases the importation of Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles into the United States, as disclosed by federal legislators and three former officials from the Trump administration familiar with his intentions.

Californians Bear the Brunt of Conflicting Climate Policies and Politics

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As California’s gas prices, already among the nation’s highest, face an impending surge of nearly 50 cents per gallon due to lesser-known initiatives aimed at fulfilling stringent emissions targets, residents grapple with the financial strain. Governor Newsom’s ongoing battles with the oil industry, coupled with the looming threat of gas tax hikes and soaring EV mandates, underscore the mounting challenges. Critics argue that these policies, driven by Newsom and echoed at the federal level by President Biden, are leading Californians into a financial abyss, with skyrocketing costs and insufficient infrastructure for the transition to electric vehicles exacerbating the burden.

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11 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security Early

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Deciding when to claim Social Security is often about maximizing your benefit. Financial planners usually advise delaying your claim for as long as possible to secure the highest monthly payment. Your benefit is based on your lifetime earnings, with a full payout available at your full retirement age (FRA), which is currently between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year. Claiming before FRA results in a permanent reduction in your monthly benefit, while waiting beyond FRA leads to a permanent increase. However, the decision isn’t solely about maximizing the monthly check. Personal factors such as health, family circumstances, and financial needs can play a significant role in determining the right time to claim.

11 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security Early

 

Exploring Government Programs Granting Free Land for Affordable Homeownership: From Colorado to Iowa

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Small towns across the US are offering free land for those ready to build homes and contribute to their communities. As housing costs soar nationwide, these towns are innovating to attract new residents and revitalize their local economies. From the Midwest to the Mountain states, these programs offer more than just affordable homeownership; they invite you to join a tight-knit community and embrace a whole new way of life.

Exploring Government Programs Granting Free Land for Affordable Homeownership: From Colorado to Iowa

The 10 States Taxing Social Security in 2024 and the 2 That Just Stopped

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As 2023 tax filing season draws to a close, retirees across the nation are adjusting their financial plans for 2024, but a crucial detail could drastically alter the landscape of retirement living: the taxing of Social Security benefits. While many bask in the belief that their golden years will be tax-friendly, residents in specific states are facing a reality check as their Social Security benefits come under the taxman’s purview. Conversely, a wave of relief is set to wash over two states, marking an end to their era of taxing these benefits. This shift paints a complex portrait of retirement planning across the U.S., underscoring the importance of staying informed of the ever changing tax laws. Are you residing in one of these states? It’s time to uncover the impact of these tax changes on your retirement strategy and possibly reconsider your locale choice for those serene post-work years. Here are the 9 states taxing social security benefits.

The States Taxing Social Security in 2024 and the 2 That Just Stopped

Understanding How SECURE Act 2.0 Affects Your Retirement Plan

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Three years after the landmark SECURE Act reshaped America’s retirement scene, the follow-up SECURE Act 2.0 expands access to retirement plans and perks. Key updates include mandatory enrollment in certain workplace retirement plans, higher catch-up contributions for older workers, and broader savings options for part-timers. Additionally, it enhances the ability to save for emergencies, providing quicker access when needed. This significant step forward promises to strengthen financial security for many. Here’s what you need to know about the new provisions.

Understanding How SECURE Act 2.0 Affects Your Retirement Plan

Treasury Sets I Bond Rate at 4.28%. Are I Bonds Still Worth Your Investment?

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Inflation is a silent killer. With the rapid rise in inflation over the last two years, I bonds became an attractive, safe investment.  With the government reporting lower CPI numbers lately, the composite rate of I bonds at 4.28% is less attractive than when investors purchased them at an annual rate of 9.62% in May 2022. Given the lower rates, investors are now considering whether they should continue buying or selling existing Series I bonds.

Treasury Sets I Bond Rate at 4.28%. Are I Bonds Still Worth Your Investment?

Social Security Solvency Extended to 2035, Medicare Gains 5 More Years to 2036: What It Means for You

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The projected depletion dates for Medicare and Social Security have been extended as reported in the annual trustees report for Social Security and Medicare released on Monday. However, officials caution that without significant policy changes, these programs may still be at risk of failing to deliver full benefits to retiring Americans.

Social Security Solvency Extended to 2035, Medicare Gains 5 More Years to 2036: What It Means for You

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