California greenhouse regs to raise gas taxes by up to $1.30 a gallon

California greenhouse regs to raise gas taxes by up to $1.30 a gallon

Californians already pay the nation’s second highest gas tax at 68 cents a gallon — and now it will go up again in January to pay for a first-in-the-nation climate change law. …

When gas prices go up, motorists typically blame oil companies, Arab sheiks and Wall Street speculators. This time they can blame Sacramento and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for passing a bill requiring California to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The tax on carbon already raised about $1 billion in revenue by requiring manufacturers and utilities to buy credits for each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. At the beginning of next year, the law will also apply to oil and gas. Refiners and distributors say they will pass another $2 billion in costs on – largely to consumers. …

Estimates of the cost of the tax vary. The California Air Resources Board, the Golden State’s premier anti-pollution agency, predicts the new tax will raise gasoline prices from 20 cents to $1.30 per gallon. A prominent state senator who helped author the bill estimated the cost at 40 cents a gallon. Environmental activists downplay the cost, but hail the impact. …

The cost of the climate change law never was spelled out in the original bill in 2010, which did not even include transportation fuels.But any meaningful climate change law would have to address driving, the state’s largest single source of pollution. By raising the price, officials hope to reduce the number of miles driven as consumers are forced to consider options.

“We have to effect a transition away from the polluting of fuels that we currently have,” said Parfrey. “We have to pay a little extra so that we’re making sure that our energy in the future is not going to be spoiled.”

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