Gas Tax Plan is Not Only about Fixing the Roads

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Assemblyman Vince Fong added a twist to the gas tax increase debate releasing comments from the Legislative Analyst on the potential increase in fuel prices if the cap-and-trade law extends beyond 2020. After answering Fong’s questions about the effects of cap-and-trade, the LAO made additional comments, which reminded readers of a key element behind the cost increase move—to discourage consumption of carbon-based fuels.

Putting aside the need to fix state roads and infrastructure, which has universal agreement, the strategy undergirding the tax gas proposal is to reduce carbons and enforce climate change priorities.

In other words, high prices for fuel is a strategy in the climate change game plan.

In seeking information on the cap-and-trade pressure on gas prices, Fong said, “When considering and evaluating the transportation funding package, we cannot look at gas taxes in a vacuum.” The cap-and-trade program will add additional costs on fuel as it has already. The LAO, in addressing a letter to Fong, said depending on the scenario of cap-and-trade approaches, fuel costs could increase 15-cents a gallon in 2021 up to 73-cents a gallon in 2031. However, the LAO went to great lengths to express uncertainties about what actually might come to pass.

The LAO calculated that per household gasoline costs by 2026 would be anywhere from $150 to $550 under the scenarios they developed for Assemblyman Fong.

But in the additional comments the LAO offered after responding to Fong’s questions, the analysts emphasized “we note that the increased gasoline prices associated with cap-and-trade are an intentional design feature” that would encourage consumers “to reduce their consumption of carbon-intensive fuels in order to meet the policy objective of reducing statewide carbon emissions.”

Considering that is the goal, then increased prices probably can’t be too high to discourage carbon use. You won’t hear that in the current debate that surrounds the gas tax package, but that is an essential part of what is going on.

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