February 21, 2023
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor, State of California
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Newsom:
Californians are struggling to afford the rapidly increasing cost of basic necessities, such as housing, food, energy, and transportation. Rising fuel prices drive up the cost of everything from gas at the pump to goods at the store. Fuel prices will soon increase again as the direct result of state policy decisions, and it is within your control to prevent these increases. Therefore, we are calling on you to take the
following actions to help ease the financial burden for California families:
1. Stop the gas tax hike. The gas tax will increase 8 percent on July 1st. Californians already pay the highest gas taxes in the country with rates more than 50 percent above the national average. In last year’s budget, you proposed pausing the 2022 gas tax increase in order to “lower the price of gasoline” and “provide some relief to consumers.” Unfortunately, you later abandoned this proposal and allowed the gas tax to increase by nearly 6 percent. This year’s budget provides no relief from an even larger increase in 2023. We ask that you once again call to suspend the gas tax increase.
2. Extend the diesel tax holiday. Last year’s budget provided a partial diesel sales tax exemption to reduce commercial transportation costs and lower the price of consumer goods. This tax relief is set to expire on September 30, 2023. Allowing diesel taxes to increase will trigger higher inflation and worsen the state’s affordability crisis. We ask that you call to extend this relief for another 12 months.
3. Delay the fuel blend transition. On September 30, 2022, you directed the Air Resources Board to accelerate the transition from summer-blend gasoline to winterblend gasoline in order to provide some urgently needed relief for consumers from the state’s record high gas prices. Refiners can produce more of the winter-blend than the summer-blend, which results in lower gas prices. Californians cannot afford a repeat of the catastrophic price spikes they experienced just months ago. We are calling on you to temporarily delay the transition to summer-blend gasoline in order to ease the inevitable financial burden of rising gas prices.
All of these actions are within your authority. We request that you act swiftly to help
California families endure the state’s unacceptably high cost of living.