By Leo Stallworth, KABC TV-7, Los Angeles, CA
June 22, 2019
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When the new gas tax kicks in July 1, California will have the highest gas tax in the country.
The new gas tax will add an additional 5.6 cents per gallon of gas.
Consumer Watchdog President Jaime Court argues even though the new gas tax is expected to generate more than $50 billion over the next decade for much-needed road repairs, road infrastructure and transit upgrades, consumers shouldn't be stuck with the bill.
"I had an issue with the tax increase when it went into effect because I felt that it should be paid for by the oil refineries excessive profits," he said.
With the state average at over $4 a gallon, motorists pay close to $1.20 more per gallon at the pump than the national average. The state energy commission reports 70 cents of that difference is attributed to tougher gas standards and environmental regulations. Court claims otherwise.
"The state of California is investigating now the high cost of gas in this state... I know what it is because I look at the oil refineries profit reports. It's gouging. When the oil refineries are making more off California gasoline than they make anywhere in the rest of the nation, we know that that profit is gouging," Court added.
Court said he's working with the governor's office to rein in oil companies providing relief for consumers at the pump.
"We are an isolated market, and we have five oil refineries that control 90% of the gasoline in this state in terms of making it, and also in Southern California, control 80% of the retail gasoline stations," he added.