California’s gas tax becomes highest in the U.S.

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SAN DIEGO -- Drivers in California will be paying the highest gas tax in the country starting Monday, when an increase of 5.6 cents per gallon is set to go into effect.

The increase is tied to legislation passed in 2017, which paved the way for the gas tax to rise in November by 12 cents and again on July 1. The legislation also included an annual adjustment to the gas tax based on the cost of living.

“The total increase over a number of years is just going to grow and grow and grow,” said Richard Rider, chairman for San Diego Tax Fighters.

While the increase is meant to help fund road maintenance and rehabilitation, Rider is worried not all of the money will go toward those projects.

“There’s no easy way to get them to stay on the course they claim they’re going on,” Rider said. “It just takes public pressure.”

The gas tax increase comes the same week the American Automobile Association projects a record number of Californians will hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday. More than 4 million people in California are expected to take a trip by vehicle this upcoming week.

Even before the July 1 increase, Californians were already paying about a dollar over the national average for gas. AAA reports the national average on June 30 was $2.71, compared to California’s average of $3.75.

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