The California Drivers Alliance, a coalition backed by oil, agriculture, retail, tourism and other industries has tried valiantly over the last three months–running radio, print and digital ads–to generate a groundswell against the so-called “hidden gas tax” that could act as at least 15 cents a gallon surtax on gas prices starting on January 1. Yet with Democrats like Governor Jerry Brown still clinging to climate change politics, the gas tax seems unstoppable.
With gasoline prices having fallen up to 50 cents a gallon in some regions of the state, most of California’s 25 million motorists just do not seem to be very focused on delaying the next phase of the California legislature’s program to combat climate change.
The coalition’s big-bucks public relations effort struck out in the legislature in August, when a coalition-sponsored bill to delay the tax failed to receive a hearing or gain the support of Governor Brown, who may be eyeing a presidential run.
Oil companies and anti-global warming activists both expect refiners to pass along to consumers the full cost of paying for carbon tax credits that allow for continued release of greenhouse gases. But a spokesman for the Air Resources Board, Dave Clegern told the Los Angeles Times, “We have no plans to change the program at this time.”
The coalition collected 80,000 signatures on an Internet petition from people worried about the increase, and released their economic analysis last week, warning that higher gas prices could cost between 18,000 to 66,000 California jobs in its first year. State officials responded by disputing the grim analysis.
According to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the wildly popular GasBuddy.com app, average gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since fall 2010, the Times notes. The average price in Los Angeles County last week was $3.76 per gallon for regular gasoline.
With crude oil prices falling, Kloza expects the retail price to fall another 15 to 20 cents in the next three months. He believes that unless prices rise a great deal, the hidden tax “doesn’t seem so apocalyptic to a public that was paying $4 or $4.20.”
This week saw the release of the EU and US funded Global Carbon Project (GCP), the People’s Climate March, and President Obama’s keynote speech at the United Nations Global Climate Summit. Despite 22 years of China and India being exempted from any climate change mandates, Democrats seem happy to let California consumers pay another surtax.