Republicans see an opportunity to score points with voters this election season because of Californians historical love affair with cars. Two hot current issues that touch all Californians are connected to the state’s car culture—the difficulties, or shall we say disasters at the DMV, and the gas tax repeal initiative.

Republicans already signaled that they believe resistance to the gas tax increase will drive (yes, pun intended) voters to the polls. That is why members of congress contributed to the effort to get the gas tax repeal on the ballot.

Meanwhile, DMV problems continue to complicate the lives of many Californians. Republicans have not hesitated to pin the problems on Democrats especially after the lack of Democratic votes in a legislative committee failed to require an audit of the DMV.

On top of the long lines and interminable waiting times suffered by residents trying to do business at DMV offices, now the agency has to apologize for computers being down yesterday disrupting service for thousands of customers. This is not the first time the DMV has suffered technical problems with its information network.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson, who has demanded an audit of the DMV, flatly called the agency “incompetent” after the newest fiasco. GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox has been campaigning at DMV offices, talking to prospective voters waiting in the long lines.

Is Democratic denial of a DMV audit and embrace of the gas tax enough to move some voters to the GOP column?

Certainly, Californians still love their cars. I write this despite the headline the Los Angeles Times offered over an opinion piece four years ago that “L.A.’s love affair with cars is over.”

The article was aimed at Sen. Dianne Feinstein for negative comments she made about the potential of citizens rushing to use public transit after a federal grant was issued to extend an LA subway line. “I’ll believe that when I see it,” the senator said at the time.

Considering Sen. Feinstein’s current newsworthy endeavors, it is noted a Cavanaugh wrote the article. In this case, Times journalist Kerry Cavanaugh, last name spelled with a C. The writer was rebuking the senator for saying Angelenos were glued to their cars because “they love their cars.” While the piece argued that projected ridership on new routes has been exceeded, over the last number of years since the piece was written ridership has dropped off.

Californians still do love their cars and the car culture is alive and well in the state. In facing that reality, the state is working on ideas to get more drivers into non-polluting vehicles and trying to figure out how to manage the car love affair while eliminating the combustion engine.

But that is in the future. The love affair continues now and there is an election around the corner. Republicans hope their push for protecting drivers both in saving time (at the DMV) and money (on gas) will turn voters their way.