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Gas tax cut a possibility, but don’t look for plummeting prices

Posted: February 14, 2014 5:41 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2014 5:41 p.m.

A gas tax sticker is posted on a pump at the Shell gas station on the corner of Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway on Friday.

 

Californians may pay less in state fuel taxes in the coming fiscal year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean less pain at the pump come summertime, according to officials.

A staff proposal from the Board of Equalization unveiled Friday recommends reducing the state’s excise tax on gasoline by 3.5 cents per gallon in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins July 1 and runs until June 30, 2015.

Doing so would lower that tax from 39.5 cents a gallon to 36 cents a gallon.

“This proposed gas tax cut will give Californians a much-deserved tax break and help lower travel costs this summer,” Board of Equalization member George Runner said in a statement. “It has my full support.”

However, a decrease in the state excise gas tax does not necessarily mean lower prices at the pump.

“Historical data indicates that this legislation requiring the adjustment does not have an impact on overall gas prices,” said board Chairman Jerome Horton in a statement. “However, it would be nice if this decrease in excise tax would result in a corresponding decrease in gas prices.”

The Board of Equalization will consider and vote on the proposed tax rate change at its meeting on Feb. 25 in Culver City.

Even with the decrease, Californians will still see some of the steepest gas taxes in the nation.

Drivers in the Golden State currently pay 70.87 cents per gallon in state and federal fuel taxes, according to the American Petroleum Institute. That is well above the national average of 49.72 cents per gallon in taxes.

“Although I’m pleased the tax will go down this year, it’s unfortunate that California will continue to have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation,” Runner said.

The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in California is $3.69 a gallon, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Prices in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan area are a bit higher, around $3.76 a gallon.

That figure is up 11 cents per gallon from last week, but down 24 cents a gallon from last year.

Locally, gas prices in the Santa Clarita Valley largely range from $3.65 to $3.85 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com, an online price-tracking site.

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
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