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UPDATED: Fuel tax revenue breaks state’s record

Posted: November 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 3, 2012 11:24 a.m.
Fuel prices are posted at the Mobil gas station at McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive in Valencia on Friday.  Fuel prices are posted at the Mobil gas station at McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive in Valencia on Friday. 
<p>Fuel prices are posted at the Mobil gas station at McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive in Valencia on Friday.</p><br /><br /><p> </p>

The statewide average gasoline price has fallen more than 20 cents in the last week to settle around $4.04 a gallon for regular unleaded, AAA officials said Friday.

In all, prices have fallen more than 60 cents a gallon since the record-high prices of early October, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

While Los Angeles County’s prices for regular unleaded self-serve gasoline are a little above the state average at $4.06 a gallon, according to online gas price tracker, there are several stations citywide that had gas below $4 a gallon Friday — the first time prices have fallen below that benchmark in months.

But despite the decreases, state gas prices will likely continue to exceed the national average, which stands at $3.49 a gallon, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with

DeHaan said he expects prices to settle around $3.65 a gallon statewide for the winter, though higher prices remain a possibility if supply is interrupted.

“California is done with high prices — at least until the next refining issue,” he said.

Customers saw $3.91 per gallon for regular unleaded at the Mobil station at McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive in Valencia on Friday afternoon.

“I’m super happy that it’s below $4, finally,” said Saugus resident Tiffany Groscost as she filled up her daughter’s Volkswagen Beetle on Friday.

Groscost said she has been driving her daughter’s car instead of her own Chevrolet Suburban to save on gas costs, adding she would soon return to using her SUV to drive her family around town.

Valencia High School teacher Jerry Mike said he was taken aback by the downward trend in prices at the pump.

Mike said he spent $42 Friday to fill the tank of his daughter’s Honda Civic, a far cry from the $120 it usually costs to fill up his Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Less than a month after the state’s gas prices hit new highs, the California Board of Equalization announced this week that state and local gas tax revenues set a new record at $8.3 billion for fiscal year 2011-2012.

Taxes processed at the pump include sales tax, motor fuel vehicle taxes and state and federal excise taxes. While most of those are flat taxes, sales tax revenue goes up when the price of the product does so.

The 2012 fiscal year ended June 30, meaning the record amount of taxes announced by the Board of Equalization does not include data from September or October, when the average price of gasoline was the highest recorded in state history.

California’s fuel taxes for unleaded gasoline total 68.9 cents per gallon, while taxes for diesel fuel add up to 77.1 cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Both those figures are the second-highest among states, trailing only New York and Connecticut, respectively.

A certain percentage of fuel taxes are set aside for road construction, according to Board of Equalization member George Runner.

Runner said the additional state revenue was no cause for celebration.

“The state cannot just go back to California taxpayers when they need money,” Runner said. “To put that additional burden on the backs of consumers when they’re struggling is wrong.”

Signal photographer Jonathan Pobre contributed to this report.




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